Constitutional Law

Lawyer Seeks Trial Delay, Says Courthouse Xmas Tree OK, But Crime-Victim-Photo Ornaments Create Bias


An Alabama criminal defense attorney doesn’t object to the Christmas tree in the Houston County Courthouse or even the ornaments, featuring photographs of crime victims, with which it is decorated.

But Billy Joe Sheffield II does object to having it displayed, next to the jury room, as his clients’ cases go to trial, reports the Dothan Eagle. So he has filed motions in all of his cases scheduled to go to trial during the holiday season, seeking either a delay or removal of the display.

The Christmas tree ornaments were organized by the Southeast Alabama chapter of Victims of Crime Against Leniency.

“I just want to ensure my clients have a fair trial without any bias,” Sheffield told the newspaper. “I’m not opposed to the Christmas tree, and I’m not opposed to the VOCAL sign being there. But what I’m opposed to is the photographs being right next to the jury room.”

So far, his motions have not been granted, he says, but some remain to be decided.

Hat tip: Associated Press.

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