Jury choice within the Thomas case is scheduled for Monday
January 7—Somerset, Pa. — Sixteen months after Somerset County District Legal professional Jeffrey Thomas was charged with sexual assault, attorneys on each side of his case can have an opportunity to impanel an area jury to determine his destiny.
A pool of roughly 90 jurors will probably be dropped at a Somerset County courthouse Monday to be questioned with the purpose of seating 12 jurors, and substitutes, keen to weigh the proof within the case to determine whether or not Thomas is responsible of the costs towards him. .
State police accused Thomas of coming into a Windbar lady’s residence with alcohol in September 2021, regardless of her telling him to remain away, after which sexually assaulting and strangling her earlier than she was in a position to free herself.
In a legal criticism filed on the time of his arrest, investigators wrote that Thomas agreed to depart the residence solely after the alleged sufferer assured him that she wouldn’t name the police.
Thomas maintains that he’s not responsible of the crime and appears ahead to defending himself in court docket.
Testimony will not start till March, a delay granted by state Supreme Courtroom-appointed Senior Choose Timothy Creaney to provide Thomas’ protection workforce an opportunity to get an knowledgeable report on the lady’s facial accidents finalized by a well known forensic pathologist. Cyril Wecht.
Thomas’ case is unprecedented in Somerset County, with the county’s high regulation enforcement officer charged with a severe intercourse crime.
However he’s removed from the primary district lawyer statewide to face legal fees.
Thomas is the newest of a handful of former prosecutors to face legal fees previously seven years — former Bedford County District Legal professional Invoice Higgins Jr. amongst them.
Not like the Thomas case, most of these high-profile circumstances by no means went to trial, leading to sentences reasonably than plea offers that led these prosecutors to give up their regulation licenses. (One, Bradford County District Legal professional Chad Salsman, spent greater than a 12 months in jail in 2021 for intimidating shoppers into intercourse.)
One other, like Thomas, exercised his Sixth Modification proper to a public trial.
In 2019, Mercer County jurors had been tasked with weighing proof towards former District Legal professional Miles Carson in a case alleging that he influenced legal circumstances involving heroin addicts.
Prosecutors stated the lady was a romantic accomplice, which Carson denied.
Given the high-profile nature of the case, Mercer County officers assembled a “bigger pool” of potential jurors for choice — and had been in a position to seat a jury in simply two days, based on Mercer County Courtroom Administrator Bo McCleary, who joined the workplace in 2020.
Even when circumstances appeal to extra public consideration, judges and attorneys are nearly at all times capable of finding residents keen to withhold judgment and determine a case pretty, he stated.
“The (potential) jurors that are available in are fairly open-minded general. They’re keen to hear,” McCleary stated.
Carson, not like Thomas, solely confronted misdemeanors. He acquired a four-year apprenticeship, 300 hours of group service and was barred from persevering with to observe regulation, data present.
Thomas took a depart of absence from his job after the criticism was filed. Along with his regulation license suspended, he can’t function a district lawyer or supervise the workplace.
His former first assistant, Molly Metzger, now serves as appearing district lawyer.
Thomas is represented by Allegheny County protection attorneys Ryan Tutera and Eric Jackson Lurie.
The state lawyer normal’s workplace is prosecuting Thomas.
Senior Deputies Tom Mutchler and Patrick Schulte are prosecuting the case for the state.
David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Observe him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst.
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