American Scene: Mistrial declared after photo of juror sent from court

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KANSAS

TOPEKA — A Kansas judge declared a mistrial in a murder trial Wednesday after a newspaper reporter tweeted a photo that included the grainy profile of a juror.

The Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office said it plans to reschedule Austin Tabor’s trial for June or July in the wake of the abrupt halt to proceedings in Topeka one day after attorneys presented opening statements.

“One of the photos apparently showed one or more of the jurors,” said Lee McGowan, spokesman for the district attorney’s office. “It was brought to the court’s attention and ultimately a mistrial was declared.”

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Mr. Tabor, 20, is accused of fatally shooting Matthew Mitchell, 20, near Topeka West High School in 2010.

Mr. McGowan said the judge had agreed to allow camera phones in the courtroom, but said no photos were to be taken of jurors. That corresponds with rules established by the Kansas Supreme Court for cameras in courtrooms, including that individual jurors are not to be photographed.

“In courtrooms where photography is impossible without including the jury as part of the unavoidable background, the photography is permitted, but close-ups which identify individual jurors are not permitted,” the court has stated.

The picture, taken and tweeted by reporter Ann Marie Bush, includes the profile of a juror set against a brightly lit window.

Capital-Journal Managing Editor Tomari Quinn responded to comments on the newspaper’s website by saying the photo was a mistake and the “reporter is miserable about it.”

“The juror was seated next to a window and, on the reporter’s smartphone, wasn’t seen against the incoming light,” Mr. Quinn wrote.

Publisher Gregg Ireland said the reporter was aware of the rules.

RHODE ISLAND

Rare Revere print found in book at university

PROVIDENCE — A rare engraved print created by Paul Revere has been found in a 19th century book at Brown University.

A university preservationist discovered the print while studying the 1811 book once owned by a 1773 graduate of Brown. The graduate’s descendants donated the book to the Rhode Island school.

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