JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith’s case has been declared a mistrial.
The jurors have been released.
The jury deliberated for a little over two hours Wednesday before they delivered two notes to a judge. In on of the notes, it appeared that a member of the jury might have not been truthful.
Jurors were also split on a verdict, so the judge decided to declare a mistrial. He was facing three charges: two counts of conspiracy and one count for illegally assisting an inmate.
Smith was accused of trying to help inmate Christopher Butler get charges dismissed. The state said it was illegal.
Throughout the trial Smith has assisted his lawyer with his defense. Smith gave part of the closing argument, saying others were involved in Butler’s case.
Smith also proclaimed his innocence, saying he was just doing his job. He made claims that the state wants to take over his office.
The new trial is set to begin on June 12.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood released a statement about the trial:
“I am disappointed that the jury was deadlocked in this case, but a mistrial was the only appropriate result after learning that a juror sat silently during jury questioning before the trial, even though that juror knew the defendant. Unfortunately, we learned after a 2-1/2 week trial that a juror talked during deliberations about having known the defendant. A juror takes an oath to answer questions posed to them by the Court and the lawyers. Consequently, this case will need to be presented to another Hinds County jury as soon as possible. Any inappropriate conduct will be appropriately addressed. Jury service is the responsibility for all of us as citizens, and justice in any jurisdiction depends upon the integrity, courage and honesty of the citizens who sit on juries.”