Attorneys Lean on Time Limits, Biased Jurors for Whitmer Kidnapping Trial Appeal
The second federal trial in the kidnapping plot of Governor Gretchen Whitmer finished Tuesday but the saga isn’t over yet.
The sentencing for Adam Fox is scheduled for December 13, while Barry Croft is set for December 28. After sentencing will most likely be an appeal and this is a trial that has some legitimate concerns for an appeal.
In a case that has already seen two federal trials, two guilty pleas and two more trials set for state court. Croft and Fox aren’t done, the appeal is still to come.
“It’s almost guaranteed that there will be an appeal in this case,” said Matthew Schneider, former US Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan, “Because there’s an appeal in virtually every case.”
The defense attorneys, Josh Blanchard and Chris Gibbons have already made it known, they will appeal the guilty verdicts of their clients.
“There have been issues pertaining to the jury and orders are in place,” said Gibbons, “I’m certain the next steps will involve the jurors.”
On Day 2 of the trial, Blanchard was tipped off a juror told a coworker they already made up their mind before the trial even started. He motioned to have them dismissed.
“The court did an independent internal investigation of the juror and put all the court’s findings in writing,” said Schneider, “And determined that there was no bias.”
Another point of contention is time limits Judge Robert Jonker set on cross examination. Jonker warned both sides of wasting time, multiple times, during the trial.
“The judge‘s job is to avoid wasting the jury’s time,” said Schneider.
Eventually capping the defense’s time to be equal to the prosecution’s. This came up as an issue during Kaleb Frank’s testimony, a suspect who pleaded guilty beforehand.
“When you’re cross examining a government witness, it takes a lot more time,” said Schneider, “You have to go into more detail about their background, their biases, the prior convictions.”
Both issues will be heard by the Court of Appeals, after sentencing. If successful, that would most likely mean a third trial.
“Unfortunately our system takes quite a long time,” said Schneider, “I’m not saying it could take months, it could take years.”
There is still the sentencing of Franks. That should be soon and lighter than previously expected, given his willingness to testify in these trials.