Thursday, July 14, 2011

“Government counsel doesn’t do just what government counsel can get away with doing …I’m very troubled by this."

Ouch. That was Judge Reggie Walton declaring a mistrial in the Roger Clemens case:

Judge Reggie B. Walton declared a mistrial in the Roger Clemens perjury trial today.

"He's entitled to a fair trial," said Walton. "He now cannot get it."

Lead defense attorney Rusty Hardin had asked for a mistrial because the prosecution revealed a statement to the jury that violated a pre-trial order. The prosecution also violated pre-trial orders when Assistant U.S. attorney Steven Durham talked about the Yankees' drug use during his opening statement.

Walton scheduled a Sept. 2 hearing to determine whether to hold a new trial for the former baseball star who pitched for four teams, including the Red Sox, during his 24-year career. Walton told jurors he was sorry to have wasted their time and spent so much taxpayer money, only to call off the case.

"There are rules that we play by and those rules are designed to make sure both sides receive a fair trial," Walton told the jury, saying such ground rules are critically important when a person's liberty is at stake.

He said that because prosecutors broke his rules, "the ability with Mr. Clemens with this jury to get a fair trial with this jury would be very difficult if not impossible."

In angry comments directed toward the prosecution, Walton said, “Government counsel doesn’t do just what government counsel can get away with doing …I’m very troubled by this. A lot of government money has been used to reach this point. The government should have been more cautious. I don’t see how I can un-ring the bell.”

By that, Walton meant that he could not figure out how the jury’s exposure to statements by Laura Pettitte, wife of former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, can be erased from their memory so it does not later influence decision-making. Laura Pettitte is someone designed to bolster the credibility of her husband, a former teammate of Clemens who was expected to be a key witness in the trial. Under dispute in the case is whether Clemens mentioned using human growth hormone to Andy Pettitte.


Anonymous said...

obviously the Judge lacks a spine. Comments made during opening are not evidence, the jury is so instructed and presumed to follow those instructions and by the time the case is over, the jury would have forgotten about those comments during the opening statements. This is a no brainer for the 11th cir. Lucky Roger the Dodger is not on trial here!

Anonymous said...

Lacks a spine, my ass. Obviously you have no idea what a fair trial means. And it certainly takes more than a spine - it takes guts - to do what this honorable jurist did here. And Dave, since when do you accept comments from Nancy Grace.

Anonymous said...

Sure I know what a fair trial is. Any prejudicial evidence that will convict Roger the juicer. Just so long as the evidence is not unduly prejudicial. Any wrongfully admitted statements were easily curable at this early stage of the trial. The judge is clearly a Eunuch.