"One … Trial Carries on While the Rest of the Justice System [in Southern Florida] Has Shut Down"

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David Oskar Marcus (SDFLA Blog) reports (thanks to Howard Bashman at How Appealing for the pointer):

As districts around the country issue orders postponing trials and as we await Chief Judge Moore's order continuing all trials until after 4/27, there is one trial in Broward federal court that is pushing forward.

It's one of the sober home (health care fraud) cases, U.S. v. Sebastian Ahmed.  The government is alleging $21 million in fraud….

The defendant is in custody so the marshals have to bring him back and forth each day.

And the 12 jurors plus alternates have sit in the jury box without social distancing.

The trial started back on February 20 and was only supposed to last 3 weeks.  On Monday, they will start week 6 of the trial!  The defendant testified for a few days last week. And the parties closed on Friday.

I understand that the defense has moved a number of times for mistrial based on the virus, but those motions have been denied. I've been told that Judge Cohn asked the jurors if they wanted to continue and they said yes.

NEXT: “It Is Their Care in All the Ages to Take the Buffet and Cushion the Shock.”

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  1. At the very least you can come up with some alternate seating arrangements for the jurors right? Or are we slaves to procedure to this extent.

    1. Good point. I’m at a loss as to why that could not be done. (I refuse to believe that the seating for the usual viewing public is anything close to being filled up . . . you’d think that jurors could sit in the frontmost seats, and walk up when necessary–to view exhibits, etc.)

  2. So if the fair trial is over, find them guilty and lock them up.
    That’s the trouble with all that evidence stuff, it leads jurors to change their minds – – – – – –

  3. I’d love to see your summary of that case when it gets decided.
    Those “sober homes” often are iffy, I know of one where the cops found the decomposed body of one of the residents a year later — in the backyard of the home…..

  4. Would the judge cite contempt for a juror who refused that seating arrangement? Unimaginable.

  5. Our firm finished a two-week trial on Saturday (in New York)! We won.

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