Wash. Supreme Court reverses murder conviction, says holding trial in jail was unfair
SEATTLE – SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington Supreme Court has reversed a murder defendant's conviction, saying it was unfair to hold his trial in the county jail rather than the courthouse.
James Frank Jaime was convicted of killing a man during a 2005 drug deal. The judge agreed with prosecutors who for security reasons wanted to hold his trial in a courtroom at the jail, rather than in the courthouse across the street.
The high court ruled 6-3 Thursday that the setting was prejudicial, similar to letting jurors see the defendant in shackles, and that nothing in the record validated the security concerns. The majority also said they were troubled that the judge lied to the jury about why the trial was being held in the jail, in saying it was just for administrative and space reasons.