Find out the meaning of ‘mistrial’ as YNW Melly’s attorney pushes for one in the rapper’s double-murder case.
The 24-year-old is currently on trial at the Broward County Court in Florida after being charged with murdering two men.
The rapper has pleaded not guilty. However, he could face the death penalty if found guilty following a new law passed in the state.
A week of the trial has now taken place and it ended with YNW Melly’s lawyer seeking a mistrial. Here’s what that means…
Meaning of ‘mistrial’ explained
Mistrial is when a trial is rendered invalid due to an error in the proceedings. If a mistrial is granted, the trial will be halted and declared invalid before a verdict is reached.
They can be declared for all kinds of reasons, such as misconduct from any party, comments made in front of the jury that would make it unfair to continue the trial and unavailability of a key participant.
The trial is terminated and declared void. This nullifies the proceedings as if they had never taken place. If a new trial is ordered, it will start again from the beginning.
After a mistrial, the court could decide to drop all charges, in which case YNW Melly would be free. However, there is usually a retrial.
YNW Melly’s attorney seeks mistrial
Late on Thursday afternoon (June 15), YNW Melly’s defense attorneys moved for a mistrial after a number of “improper” questions towards a witness, Law & Crime reports.
Felicia Holmes, the mother of the rapper’s ex-girlfriend Mariah Hamilton, took to the stand as a witness for the prosecution.
She said that she couldn’t remember what she told police in 2018 and claimed the prosecution intimiated her into taking the stand.
“Mr. Demons has been prejudiced. This jury sat there and watched this fiasco unfold with at least 10, maybe 15, sidebars after every two question,” he said.
“All predicated on the implications and the inadmissible testimony that Ms. Bradley, herself, read into and spoke into the record.”
“And for that reason, we think that it was deliberate. It is highly prejudicial. This jury has been tainted, and we move for a mistrial.”
Judge is reviewing the case
Judge Murphy said he would review the transcripts of Felicia Holmes’ testimony and consider the request for a mistrial.
The court is now in recess until June 20, when the Judge will make his ruling on whether the current trial will continue.
A new law signed in Florida in April says that juries can recommend a death sentence with an 8-4 vote rather than a unanimous decision.
This is the lowest threshold in America and the new law will be followed in YNW Melly’s case, meaning he could face death if found guilty.