State: Jury tampering causes mistrial

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By David Giuliani

A mistrial was declared this month in the case of a man accused of trafficking drugs, officials said.

Timothy Bachicha, 25, who is represented by Anna Aragon, was in a jury trial earlier this month, but District Judge Eugenio Mathis declared a mistrial after a report of jury tampering, said Tom Clayton, the prosecutor.

Clayton said a juror was seen talking to a member of Bachicha’s family. As such, the district attorney’s office is investigating the matter and may charge anyone who attempted to threaten, coerce or create a false verdict, Clayton said.

Clayton and Chief Deputy District Attorney Orlando Torres, who has spent more than two decades as a prosecutor, said they haven’t encountered a situation of jury tampering.

“This has created a cloud over this case,” Clayton said. “This is a rare situation.”

Clayton said the courts do a good job to prevent situations in which there is even the appearance of jury tampering.

“When a juror talks to a family member, that’s not a good thing,” he said. “Who is to say the family is not trying to influence the jury? The jury is supposed to base its verdict on information it hears in court.”

Bachicha was charged last summer. A pre-trial hearing is set for May.