Thursday, June 21, 2012

Will Dr. Treevorkian ever be tried?

Dr. Treevorkian, aka Harvey Updyke, stands accused of attempted herbicide in the poisoning of the two landmark trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn. But the judge presiding over the trial ended two days of jury selection by delaying the trial (indefinitely) and essentially throwing up his hands.

Evan Woodbery has been providing solid coverage of this saga.

According to the story:

Judge Jacob Walker ruled this morning that the jury pool was so tainted that it was impossible for Updyke to receive a fair trial.

Walker, a Lee County Circuit Court judge who had presided over two days of jury selection, issued a continuance in the case and said he would consider ordering a change of venue later.

It seems likely that the trial will be moved to another location, and it seems most likely that if Updyke actually does go to trial it won’t be in front of a jury anywhere near the 334 area code.

Indeed, one has to wonder: given the amount of press this story has received, is it possible to seat an untainted jury anywhere in the state?

I’m skeptical.

Perhaps in the interest of justice and closure, the prosecution could offer a new plea deal to the defense that doesn’t include jail time. It would be politically unpopular for the prosecution to offer such an agreement, and just as unpopular for Judge Walker to accept it.

Updyke is said to be in poor health. It’s entirely likely that the trees he’s accused of poisoning outlive him.

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