The first of what is expected to turn into a flood of requests for new trials in East Baton Rouge Parish was filed by defense lawyers in a 2017 homicide case Monday, just four days after Louisiana’s highest court said the parish’s jury pool has been “improperly constituted” since 2011.
Attorneys filed the motion for a new trial on behalf of 21-year-old David Bueso, who was convicted two months ago in the fatal beating of his former roommate in Baton Rouge.
The request follows Thursday's state Supreme Court ruling in a capital murder case that the exclusion of persons under age 26 from East Baton Rouge’s jury pool was cause to start the jury selection process over with a new East Baton Rouge jury pool.
East Baton Rouge Parish is putting all jury trials on hold — perhaps into June — after the state Supreme Court declared Thursday that the pari…
The case that led to the Supreme Court ruling involves the trial of Grover Cannon, who is accused of killing a Shreveport police officer. Due to pretrial publicity, a jury was being picked in East Baton Rouge for the trial, which will still be held in Shreveport.
It also was revealed during the Cannon jury selection that no one who has moved to East Baton Rouge since 2011 has been included in the parish's jury rolls.
Ann McCrory, the judicial administrator in East Baton Rouge Parish, acknowledged on the witness stand Wednesday that the buck stops with her.
"Mr. Bueso was denied a trial before a fair cross-section of the community and should be granted a new trial," lawyers Kyla Blanchard-Romanach and Ashley Chandler argue.
Bueso was 19 when Jhoel Tercero Brisuela, 22, was discovered bludgeoned to death in his Coy Avenue apartment in the Gardere area.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Monday his office disagrees that Bueso or anyone else convicted in the parish since 2011 should be granted a new trial based on the jury pool issue.
“We believe that those defendants tried since 2011 were tried by twelve fair and impartial jurors,” he said in a written statement.
A computer "glitch" led to 18- to 25-year-olds being excluded from jury service in East Baton Rouge, 19th District Court administrators have said after the problem was revealed last month during jury selection in the Cannon case.
After putting jury selection in that case on hold April 11, the Supreme Court said Thursday that East Baton Rouge's jury pool is so flawed that an entirely new jury pool must be used.
Potential jurors in East Baton Rouge Parish have been directed to stay home instead of reporting to the courthouse Monday morning following a …
The ruling has resulted in all jury trials being put on hold in East Baton Rouge until early June, when a new jury pool will likely be in place.
Bueso’s appellate lawyers say persons under age 26 in the parish “were not merely underrepresented but totally excluded from the jury” selection process.
“Under state law, intentional systematic exclusion need not be shown; even accidental underrepresentation of a group ... is impermissible,” they argue.
When 566 Baton Rouge residents were called up for jury duty last week in a capital murder trial, defense attorneys were quick to spot a racial…
Moore, though, said his office doesn’t believe the objection raised in the Cannon case will have retroactive application in East Baton Rouge because “there were no contemporaneous objections made by any previous defendant or defense counsel in trials held since 2011” — meaning no defendant or defense attorney objected to a lack of young prospective jurors brought before them.
East Baton Rouge Parish’s chief public defender, Mike Mitchell, has said however that he believes every case tried under the flawed system will likely be challenged.
As of 4:30 p.m. Monday, the Bueso case was the only one so far in which attorneys had filed a request for a new trial.
Juries convicted 201 felony defendants in the 19th Judicial District — comprised solely of East Baton Rouge Parish — over the six-year period ending in 2016.
Bueso's motion for a new trial also asks that his indictment be quashed, or thrown out, because East Baton Rouge grand jurors have been chosen from the same illegally constituted jury pool.
A 21-year-old Honduran man was convicted Tuesday of beating his former roommate to death in the victim's Gardere-area apartment in 2017.
Bueso was indicted and convicted on second-degree murder, which is punishable by life in prison. A person cannot be prosecuted for a crime that carries a life sentence unless a grand jury indictment is returned.
“Because Mr. Bueso has a state constitutional right to have prosecution initiated only by grand jury indictment, he obviously has a right to have prosecution initiated only by a valid grand jury indictment,” Blanchard-Romanach and Chander contend.
Once again, Moore said, there was never a timely objection made to Bueso’s grand jury indictment.
Bueso is scheduled to be sentenced Friday. He faces a mandatory term of life in prison for second-degree murder. His attorneys claim he is innocent based on the facts of the case.