Thursday, March 04, 2010

State tosses conviction over hearing-impaired juror

State tosses conviction over hearing-impaired juror

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a juror with a hearing disability should not have served on an Ottawa County trial where a 911 recording was used as key evidence.

In its 5-2 ruling Wednesday, the court agreed with a lower court appeal that reversed Scott Speer’s conviction of aggravated vehicular homicide conviction and ordered a new trial.

A jury convicted Speer in the 2002 drowning death of his friend, who was a passenger in his speedboat on Lake Erie. During pretrial discovery, prosecutors indicated they would use audio of a 911 call Speer made as evidence against him.

As the tape played in the trial, the hearing-impaired juror was shown a transcript. The Supreme Court says that wasn’t the same and Speer did not receive a fair trial.