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Breaking News: Mistrial Granted in Houfmuse 1st Degree Assault Case In Benton County | John Crowley Defense Attorney

In a stranger than television twist to an extremely serious First Degree Assault trial in Benton County, Washington, the trial judge reluctantly granted a defense motion for a mistrial today after apparent juror misconduct was discovered by a civilian – living in and reading internet ”blogs” in the state of Indiana – who then telephoned the trial judge from Indiana and advised her of the apparent juror misconduct. 

The trial of client Tyree Houfmuse is alleged to have been a gunfight between Mr. Houfmuse and Anthony “Red” Asselin.  The gunfight occurred in a parking lot of a local watering hole.   Just after the shooting, police and ballistics technicians scoured the parking area where the shootout occurred finding and mapping over 20-pieces of evidence including spent shell casings, bullet fragments, blood and various other pieces of important evidence to the defense. During testimony, a crime scene investigator testified how while collecting the evidence, the evidence was logged and their location “mapped” by using a system of triangulation similar to how maps are created using multiple “fixed” points of reference. 

Apparently, one obviously bright and articulate juror made a blog post last evening asking others in the blogosphere whether such triangulation measurements were at all reliable.  It was not, however, a simple set of questions.  Instead, he wrote an exceptionally detailed summary of the witness summary and querried, in sophisticated engineering terms, the accuracy of such measurements given his own post-trial computations which said otherwise.   

Somebody in Indiana was apparently reading the blog this morning, knew of the impropriety of such a communnique and telephoned the trial judge advising her of the problem. After e-mailing the trial judge a link for the blog, the blog post was then presented in court to the lawyers for their own observations (a later post of that blog will be made).  One by one, jurors were called into the courtroom and asked about their knowledge of the post.  One by one, the jurors were then excused after each and every one denied the misconduct.  (two of the jurors were especially suspicious acting during their denials).  After hearing the motion of the defense for a mistrial, the judge granted the motion.  The new trial date is now September 8, 2015.