Lufkin attorney explains cost of Groveton mistrial

Updated: Aug. 3, 2018 at 6:22 PM CDT
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GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - It had only been a day since a jury had found Laymond Blanton guilty of murdering another Groveton man.

However the actions of one of those jury members erased that verdict completely.

"When there is an outside communication, which is really unusual, it's taken very seriously," Scott Skelton, an attorney. "And, it often leads to mistrials because there is a perception that this is unfair to one side or the other."

Trinity County District Judge Kaycee Jones granted a mistrial Thursday in the case.

"Everything has to be done again, starting from scratch, as if it never happened," Skelton said.

According to Skelton, a mistrial is costly for everyone.

"The main thing it does is it wastes all the taxpayers' money, it wastes the time and the resources of the state and, frankly, of the defendant," Skelton said.

The cost to prosecute Blanton again will fall on taxpayers.

"You're talking about the waste of tens and twenties of thousands of dollars," Skelton said. "I mean, it is very expensive to go to trial. And, it's a very precious resource that you don't want to waste."

Skelton added, for all attorneys involved, it's back to the drawing board.

"They don't have any other choice but to push forward," Skelton said. "So, you regroup. Obviously the defense, in this case, didn't get the verdict that they wanted. The prosecution did. The prosecution has got to try to repeat it. The defense has got to try to turn it around."

The Trinity County District Attorney's office did not comment regarding the date for Blanton's retrial.

According to Skelton, the juror who caused the mistrial is not likely to be charged in any way because of the high level of difficulty involved.

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