Dealing with a Tainted Jury

Possible Jury Tainting Leads to New Trial for Vegas Man 

The accused’s right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty is taken very seriously by our judicial system. As such, prosecutors must be careful not to taint the minds of jurors by labeling a defendant as guilty. Thanks to this ideal being a key component of our justice system, a Las Vegas man has now been granted a new trial by the Nevada Supreme Court.

Frankie Allan Watters, 27, was originally tried and found guilty of a number of offenses, including possession of a stolen car, grand larceny and failing to stop for a police officer. These acts allegedly occurred in 2011, when officers say that Watters stole a vehicle and then wrecked it, leading him to steal another car and then become involved in a high-speed chase after which time he was arrested.

During the man’s trial, the prosecutor showed the jury a PowerPoint slide containing the suspect’s photograph. This photograph had the word “guilty” superimposed on it. The slide was shown during closing arguments, at which time the prosecutor in this case asked the jury to render a guilty verdict. Attorneys for Watters claim that this tainted the minds of jurors. The Nevada Supreme Court agreed, saying that “the state has not shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the booking-photo slide sequence did not affect the jury’s determination of Watters’ guilt.”

At this time, a date for a second trial has not yet been set. Until that time, Watters is spending time in Ely State Prison in Ely, Nevada.