Mistrial declared in Clanton case

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005

JACKSON – The jury selection that began here April 25 for the capital murder trial of Todd Clanton, one of two men charged in the 2002 slaying of a Garysburg convenience store owner, came to a screeching halt here Monday.

According to Resident Superior Court Judge Cy Grant, a mistrial has been declared due to a recording device that malfunctioned during Friday’s jury selection process, leaving prosecution and defense attorneys with the task of starting over again from scratch.

Grant, who was made aware of the technological mishap via the court reporter early Monday morning, declared a mistrial in the interest of justice.

&uot;In a capital murder trial the law requires all information to be documented,&uot; said Grant.

&uot;If we were to proceed without having all the information properly documented, we would be inviting a potential reversible error, meaning that the case could easily be sent back if it came under appeal,&uot; he said.

&uot;What this means is I will have to consult with the defense attorneys to reschedule a trial date for the future,&uot; said District Attorney Valerie Mitchell-Asbell of Judicial District 6B.

According to Judge Grant, that could be a while.

&uot;It often takes a long time to schedule a murder case because you have to allow a block of approximately three to four weeks,&uot; he said.

Grant added that it was likely a &uot;special judge&uot; would be appointed to preside over the case due to conflicts in his professional schedule.

&uot;We have about four or five judges in the state that can be called upon to cover a case in the event of a schedule conflict,&uot; Grant stated.

&uot;In the meantime, we wait.&uot;