Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Judge declares mistrial in case of former Spokane cop charged with rape; new trial set for August

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 12:23 PM

click to enlarge Judge declares mistrial in case of former Spokane cop charged with rape; new trial set for August (2)
Sgt. Gordon Ennis: Mistrial declared in the rape case against the former Spokane cop.

A Spokane judge declared a mistrial Monday in the sexual assault case against a former Spokane police sergeant, who is accused of raping a female officer after a drunken house party.

Judge James Triplet sent the extra-large, 120-person jury pool home on the same day jury selection was set to begin after the former cop's defense attorney scoffed at what he calls a "pro-prosecution" article that ran in the Spokesman-Review over the weekend.

"Did you see the article?" defense attorney Rob Cossey asks. "What bothered me most, is for example, the paper made a big deal about a motion not to reference the alleged victim as a 'slut.'"

Cossey says that motion filed by prosecutors contained boilerplate language for sexual assault cases, and he objects to the insinuation that his trial strategy was to attack the alleged victim's character and sexual history. He asked the judge for a mistrial on those grounds, he says. Cossey emphasized that his argument was not based on juror misconduct, which could include potential jurors talking about the case among each other and/or discussing news coverage.

"It just skewed the whole reality," Cossey says of the daily newspaper's coverage.

A new trial date has been set for August. Asked whether he expects the trial to be moved to another county, Cossey says he'd prefer it stay in Spokane.

"I don't necessarily think so, but we're going to talk more about it because over half of the jurors have been reading about [the case]," he says.

Spokane County Prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

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About The Author

Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.