by Josh Copitch, March 7
In a turn of events since Monday, the Benno family marijuana and weapons trial was not declared a mistrial Tuesday morning.
On Monday court officials believed that Judge Stephen Baker discovered some “undisclosed information” that forced him to recuse himself and that a mistrial would be declared.
On Tuesday, Judge Baker did step down and assistant presiding Judge Dan Flynn stepped in, and no mistrial was declared. The proceedings will continue next Monday.
With the jury out of the courtroom, the attorneys and Judge Flynn went through the planned timeline to finish a trial that started a month ago.
Attorney’s for both sides were surprised that the trial will go on and by Judge Baker’s recusal a month into it.
Judge Flynn even called it “something unusual and new”.
“It’s highly unusual. I haven’t seen anything like this in my 19 years of practice. However, I am happy that the work we put into the case so far doesn’t go away. We were getting close to the finish line, where it was disheartening before, thinking that the case was going to be mistried. We were so close to the finish line, and it was going to be pulled away, and now we will be allowed to finish the race, so to speak.” said Joseph Tully, the defense attorney on the Benno case.
In May of 2015, James Benno and his sons Jacob and Logan were arrested and have been charged with 16 counts related to marijuana and weapons. Most of the weapons charges are felonies but most of the marijuana charges have been reduced to misdemeanors under current law.
The case will continue next week.