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Spokane

Juror’s inquiry leads to mistrial

Tue., April 20, 2010

A juror caused a mistrial in a recent Stevens County drug case after he used a cell phone to look up legal information.

Betty Torres will be retried after a judge granted her lawyer’s mistrial motion last week because a juror accessed the Internet from his phone in the jury room to “answer some question about the charge,” according to the Stevens County Prosecutor’s Office.

Torres is accused of helping exchange heroin for pills manufactured to look like OxyContin pills.

“All the effort by the parties and the court and the jury was wasted, as well as the 30 or so persons who had been summoned and from which the jury was chosen,” Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said in his weekly e-mail to the media.

Torres’ new trial is set to begin May 4.



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