Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Court: Deaf Juror Should Have Been Excluded

Ohio's highest court says a deaf juror should have been kept out of a murder trial. That means Scott Speer of Fairlawn will get a new trial for alledgedly murdering his friend, James Barnett. Speer was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to four years in prison. A District Court decided he didn't get a fair trial because the deaf woman on the jury couldn't hear Speer's call to 911. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed and wrote in its decision that the hearing impairment ''directly affected her ability to perceive and evaluate that evidence because she only read the colloquy from a real-time transcription.'' Barnett drowned in Lake Erie after he fell off Speer's boat. Prosecutors accused Speer of being pushed Barnett from the craft.