the record reflects that the trial judge carefully considered defendant's concerns as well as his delay in raising this issue, including his failure to object when the prospective jury was advised numerous times of the possibility that they would be required to work on Saturday, his lack of a specific religious affiliation or particular church membership, the unavailability of the State's key expert witness the following week, and "the justice system as a whole," in denying defendant's request not to hold trial on Saturday.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Appeals Court Upholds Saturday Murder Trial Despite Defendant's Religious Objection
In State v. Victor, 2016 La. App. LEXIS 1030 (LA App., May 26, 2016), a Louisiana state appeals court held that defendant's free exercise rights were not violated when the court refused to adjourn his second degree murder trial on Saturday, which defendant claimed was his Sabbath. Defendant was on trial for the murder of his 8-year old stepson who died after a severe beating that was allegedly administered as discipline for stealing ice cream. In upholding on compelling interest grounds the trial court's refusal to adjourn for Saturday, the appeals court said in part: