Christopher Taylor trial: Judge approves defense's motion for mistrial
AUSTIN, Texas - A judge has approved a motion for a mistrial in the Christopher Taylor murder trial. This comes after a four-day jury selection process failed to seat a jury of 14 for the anticipated four-week trial.
Out of 130 potential jurors examined by both sides over the last four days, only seven jurors were chosen. This added to Judge Dayna Blazey’s decision to rule in favor of the defense team's motion for a mistrial.
She mentioned the logistics do not look good if the court were to continue with the same jury selection process.
According to a tweet by Christopher Taylor’s defense attorney Doug O’Connell, this motion for a mistrial was based on inability to seat a jury after four days of jury selection. It was also based on alleged juror tampering and juror intimidation.
"They had a lot of difficulty finding 12 impartial jurors, in part because this was such a high-profile case. In addition, there were some pamphlets that were left on potential jurors' cars that many people interpreted as actual threats against jury members," said Adam Loewy, owner of Loewy Law Firm.
The first time the mysterious envelopes were mentioned was on day four of the jury selection process. The motion reveals envelopes were found by a total of three potential jurors. The envelopes were placed on cars and contained threatening and intimidating images and words that related to the murder case of Christopher Taylor.
This scared many of the potential jurors even if they did not receive an envelope. Attorney Loewy says this was a huge problem.
"No one can remember something like this happening before, and it's going to make the next trial very challenging because you're going to have to find a jury that is both impartial and is not worried about trying to serve on this jury," he said.
All the jury selection progress made throughout the week will need to start over.
A new trial date will be set sometime next week.
After a new trial date is set, 300 jurors will be summoned for the anticipated four-week trial. If a jury is not selected after that, Loewy believes the defense could attempt to move this trial out of the county.
"I am hopeful they can sit a jury here. If they can't, it would have to be moved to another county. If you put this trial in Bastrop or Caldwell County, the odds of a not guilty verdict go up dramatically, so I know the state and DA Jose Garza want this trial here, but, I'm guessing, if the defense can try to get it moved, they will," said Loewy.
The original murder trial for Austin Police Department (APD) officer Christopher Taylor began Monday, May 22 with jury selection.
Taylor is charged in the shooting death of 42-year-old Michael Ramos in the parking lot of a southeast Austin apartment complex on Pleasant Valley Road.
It started in April 2020 when Austin police responded to a call about two people doing illegal drugs and producing meth in a car. The caller indicated the man had a gun, but no weapon was ever found at the scene.
- Christopher Taylor trial: Not enough people to fill 14-person jury after 4 days of jury selection
- Trial begins for Austin police officer charged with murder of Mike Ramos
After four days of jury selection in the Christopher Taylor trial, the court did not have enough people to fill a 14-person jury.
Judge Blazey originally said the court went through every potential juror and would have to continue the selection process Tuesday, May 30 with a new pool of options.
Now, a mistrial has been granted, and a new trial date will be announced next week.