The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the re-trial of Mark Torre Jr. Now Superior Court Judge Arthur Barcinas must make a determination whether to proceed with trial or wait for the declaration of Pandemic Condition of Readiness 2.
Chief prosecutor Basil O’Mallan argued that resuming trial for Mark Torre Jr., at this time, is not wise. He cited the rising number of COVID positive cases in recent days and told the court that five jurors already want to be excused from the trial.
Defense attorney Jay Arriola, who is advocating for his client’s speedy trial rights, says that the statistics are relatively the same as when trial began during PCOR 2. He argued that the pause in the trial is indefinite because of the uncertainty of the public health pandemic. He added that the Supreme Court’s administrative order pertaining to the Torre trial authorized the trial to resume.
Judge Barcinas, however, doesn’t agree with Arriola’s assertion that this delay is indefinite.
“We can not ignore that when we started this trial we were I believe in PCOR2…and we reverted back to PCOR 1 and when the government reverted back to PCOR1 that stopped the trial. So I wouldn’t, Mr. Arriola, agree that it’s indefinite. I think there really is no basis not to restart trial once we reach the same PCOR conditions we started this trial under,” he said.
Judge Barcinas is also taking into account the jurors’ willingness to report to court. Arriola has suggested that 12 of the jurors be questioned relative to any bias or health concerns the jurors may have while the three that have expressed a bias or health concern be released from duty.
A decision will be made before the end of the week.