Tales from the Morgue: A potential witness can’t be a juror in the same trial

When an arrest happens in front of the newspaper’s building while union members are picketing, you can be sure the incident was documented and well-observed by those trained to observe.

In this case, a newspaper photographer was a witness in a trial and recognized a juror as having been on the picket line near the time of the arrest.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Thursday, Sept. 5, 1968:

Obstructing Justice Case

Picket-Turned-Witness Brings Trial To Halt

The trial of J. T. Allen on a charge of obstructing justice ended yesterday in a mistrial because a juror was disqualified for having been a picket in the incident which brought about the charge.

Superior Court Judge Alice N. Truman stopped the proceedings after a witness, Jack Sheaffer, chief photographer for the Arizona Daily Star, told an attorney in the case he recognized the juror.

Sheaffer said he remembered seeing the man in the picket line at the Tucson Newspapers Inc. building, 208 N. Stone, on Feb. 4, 1967. Pickets were supporting the International Typographical Union local’s strike against Tucson Newspapers Inc.

Judge Truman ordered a new trial to be held at a later date. Jurors already had heard the prosecution’s side of the case except for Sheaffer. The case was in its second and final day.

The judge said she “did not feel he (the juror) had knowingly withheld this information” despite his being questioned generally about whether he knew anything about the case during the empaneling.

Assistant County Atty. Horton C. Weiss prosecuted the case. Atty. W. Edward Morgan defended Allen.

Allen, 6818 E. Oberlin Dr., is accused of interfering with city Patrolman John Bostick’s arrest of another man on Feb. 4, 1967. Allen is free on his own recognizance pending the outcome of the retrial.

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