A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the evidence tampering case against Jeffrey Hampshire after a police investigator referred to a date rape investigation regarding the suspect.
Saratoga County Judge Jerry Scarano declared the mistrial during the second day of the trial in Ballston Spa.
Hampshire, 29, of Ballston was charged with felony tampering with evidence for allegedly helping the driver of a car remove his windshield after hitting a pedestrian in Saratoga Springs early in the morning after St. Patrick’s Day this year.
The driver of the car, Travis Carroll, 23, of Ballston was sentenced this summer to five to 15 years in prison on a manslaughter conviction in the death of Ryan Rossley, 27, of Saratoga Springs.
“Judge Scarano had no choice but to grant a mistrial once Inv. Laura Emanation uttered the words ‘one of the subjects was being investigated for date rape’, when referring to the defendant,” said Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III.
“We made it crystal clear to Inv. Emanation [a Saratoga Springs police investigator] that she could not reveal that information to the jury,” Murphy said in a written statement.
“We warned her what the consequences would be and in fact that is what happened today, a mistrial by the judge,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he expects to receive a new trial date from the judge in the near future.
“This does not in any way diminish our commitment to the case,” Murphy said.
Assistant district attorneys James R. Davis and Jennifer L. Buckley will continue to prosecute the matter.
“We want a fair trial,” Murphy said after the mistrial was declared.
Attorney Cheryl Coleman of Albany, who is representing Hampshire, asked Scarano for a mistrial soon after Emanation made the date-rape statement in court in front of the jury. Coleman noted that her client was not convicted of such an alleged crime.
The jury in the case had just been seated Tuesday and testimony in the case started Tuesday afternoon.
“We have to start all over again,” Murphy said about the mistrial. He said the new trial may not be scheduled until early 2011.
He said that one witness in the case had to be flown into Saratoga County from Oregon at a considerable cost. This will have to be repeated for the new trial.
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