A judge has denied a mistrial in a case out of Blair County, Pennsylvania after a prosecutor elicited witness testimony that the defendant, Rodney Williams, had a criminal record. However, the judge acknowledged that the witness testimony should not have been put before the jury, asking the jurors to disregard what they heard.
The Altoona Mirror reports:Williams is accused of being part of a drug ring operating out of the Corner Bar and Grille, 1001 Eighth Ave., as well as supplying its cocaine. Senior Deputy Attorney General Dave Gorman late Monday was questioning Attorney General’s Agent Albert Adams about the inner workings of the drug ring. Gorman asked whether Williams and other people charged in the drug ring would have been permitted to visit the group’s alleged leader in state prison. Adams answered, “They wouldn’t have been able to. … If you have a criminal history or prior felony arrests, etc., they restrict you from visiting the people in there.” That revealed that Williams has a criminal record. Prosecutors and police officers, except in rare instances, are barred from revealing that a suspect on trial has a criminal past because the information could sway the jury.