“Banned words” trial starts/ends (?) with mistrial

Before the trial began, the Nebraska judge that earlier banned [previous coverage] the use of the words “rape”, “victim”, etc… declared a mistrial stating that all the publicity surrounding his decision would make it difficult for jurors to be untainted.

In a written explanation of his ruling, Cheuvront said Bowen and her friends drummed up pretrial publicity that tainted potential jurors.

They signed a petition decrying the word ban and posted it on a Web site that encouraged people to gather in front of the courthouse Monday to protest, Cheuvront wrote. Monday was the first day of jury selection; another rally occurred Wednesday.

“The inescapable conclusion from the petition promoting the rally is that Ms. Bowen and her friends hoped to intimidate this court and interfere with the selection of a fair and impartial jury,” Cheuvront wrote in his order released Thursday afternoon.

Bowen said she did not intend to taint the jury and wants closure in the matter, but chose to speak out after Cheuvront’s order because “silencing rape victims is something that has been done for far too long.”

Cheuvront also wrote the trial would be continued, with a date to be set later, and that the court may move the trial to a different county.

Once this story hit the national headlines, it was inevitable that something like this would happen. Interesting to note, however, is that this would have been the second trial, the first having ended up with a hung jury. The judge had banned the use of those words in the first trial as well. Was there any outrage then?

My thoughts on this are pretty well documented in my previous post.

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  1. Pingback: “Banned words” accuser sues judge | a public defender

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