Inappropriate comments from an officer of the court to a jury are being cited as reasons for a mistrial in the case of an Idaho teacher accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old student.
The Twin Falls Times-News reports that prosecutors asked for, and were granted, a mistrial when it was determined that a jury commissioner had told jurors "how important the trial was to him" and how important the defendant's presumption of innocence was. Prosecutors said the remarks "made it look like [the jury commissioner] had knowledge about the case."
Cassia County Judge Michael Crabtree granted the mistrial.
Alvin Andrew, 62, was charged with sexual abuse and lewd conduct with a child for allegedly having sexual contact with a 14-year-old Oakley High School student in 2007. The victim claimed Andrew had kept her after school and had sexual contact with her in a classroom storage closet. The teacher is no longer employed with the school district.