Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A baker's dozen

Now I wasn't a math major in college, but I think I know the difference between twelve and thirteen. Apparently that wasn't the case for the bailiff in the 351st State District Court in Harris County yesterday.

A bailiff allowed a thirteenth juror, a dismissed alternate, to participate in deliberations in the trial of Charles Mapps, accused of murdering his girlfriend, Roseann Siddell. The error became apparent when thirteen jurors sat in the jury box to deliver the verdict.

So, not only did the bailiff get it wrong, neither the prosecutors, nor defense counsel nor the judge realized that thirteen people were sitting in the box and left together to deliberate. Just what were all those extra sets of eyes watching?

State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis, the lone Republican to survive the November general election, was forced to declare a mistrial moments after the jury rendered a guilty verdict.

Mr. Mapps will be retried in May.

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