Clark mistrial overturned by 1st Circuit Court of Appeals
The mistrial declared by the presiding judge in the Jeffrey Clark case yesterday has been overturned by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Baton Rouge.
Clark’s defense attorneys told the judge prosecutor Tommy Block prejudiced the jury when he told jurors in his opening statement that the defense is trying for “another life sentence” rather than the death penalty for Clark. The judge then declared a mistrial.
Clark is one of five men in the "Angola 5" accused of stabbing and beating Angola prison guard David Knapps to death.
The specific text from the ruling says:
"Writ granted. The trial court's ruling granting a mistrial is reversed, and this matter is remanded for continuation of the trial. Although the prosecutor's remark alluded to another crime, there was no specific mention of the crime for which the defendant was serving his life sentence at Angola.
Further, the jury is aware of the defendant's status as an inmate at Angola. The prosecutor's remark was not so prejudicial as to deprive the defendant of a fair trail and warrant a mistrial. The court is instructed to admonish the jury to disregard the remark."