Trial By Jury

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, August 2 2012 at 4:49 PM, Updated: Thu, August 2 2012 at 4:59 PM

There were 32 cases scheduled to go before juries in Klamath County on Wednesday...

None of those jury trials took place.

But, the situation isn't all that unusual...

Judge Roxanne Osborne says scheduling jury trials can be frustrating...

"Oh, my gosh!  It can be very frustrating - to have all this stuff looking at you, thinking you're going to do this, and then all of a sudden you don't have anything to do."

District Attorney Ed Caleb says less than 1 in 5 trials scheduled for a jury ever take place.  "If we had a trial on every one, the system would shut down in two weeks.  There's just that many cases coming through."

Judge Osborne notes that last minute agreements are the most common reason for cancelling a jury trial.  "Usually, these cases all settle on the day of trial, or the day before trial.  People change their plea, they take a plea agreement."

D.A. Caleb adds that defense attorneys may also request a delay, or continuance...

"The longer he can continue a case, better off it is - because the state's witnesses disappear."

Judge Osborne says she tries to be considerate of those on jury duty.  "We really try not to have to bring a jury in, without something to do.  And it does happen, but we try hard not to do that."

But prosecutors and defense attorneys agree that sixth amendment right to a jury trial is worth protecting...

"We have a constitution."  Notes Ed Caleb.  "Sometimes it can be abused, but mostly, it works."

Not all county courts operate exactly the same.  Judge Osborne notes that some counties scheduled cases with a 'call day', which serves as a deadline for any plea bargaining.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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