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First jury trial in Maine since pandemic delayed due to coronavirus concerns

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Judge gavel(MGN ONLINE)
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 5:49 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The first jury trial in Maine since the pandemic began was set to take place in Augusta Tuesday.

But, there’s been a hold up due to coronavirus concerns.

An adversarial witness in the case has potentially been exposed to COVID-19.

The prosecution has asked for this witness to be cross examined remotely via video.

But defense attorney Darrick Banda argues that per the constitution, a defendant has the right to face their accuser.

“There are some things you can do remotely, especially if it’s by agreement. But, when you’re dealing with an adversarial process where it’s not by agreement and you truly have an adversarial witness that may say things that are different from what he said before or may say things different, there are all sorts of problems in terms of reliability of the testimony in addition to the practical problems,” says Banda.

The judge ultimately decided to continue the trial.

A new court date will be decided.

Banda says he’s glad that the state of Maine was not the guinea pig when it comes to this type of situation.

He says he has no doubt that someone will be and the higher courts will have to make that decision.

The first murder trial during the pandemic is scheduled to begin next Monday in Bangor.

Copyright 2020 WABI. All rights reserved.

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