RACINE — Minutes before a jury was likely to begin deliberations, a homicide trial in Racine County Circuit Court ended abruptly Friday afternoon when a mistrial was declared, after the court ruled that statements made by defense counsel in closing statements violated the rules.
Judge Maureen Martinez declared the mistrial. A new trial is scheduled for Oct. 17.
Donley M. Carey, 36, is charged with intentional first-degree homicide in the Feb. 25, 2020, shooting death of DeMarcus Anderson, 28, at the Sin City Biker Club at the southeast corner of Ninth Street and South Memorial Drive.
Mindy Nolan represented the defendant in court. In her closing statements to the jury, she made references to witnesses and asked where they were, although those witnesses had invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. She also asked the jury to imagine how they might feel years after the verdict.
Leading the prosecution was Assistant District Attorney Antoinette Rich, who objected to the statements made by Nolan.
The jury was excused while Martinez considered the matter.
Still outside the presence of the jury, Martinez told defense counsel her comments were “way over the top.”
Martinez said: “It’s unacceptable to refer to people who have taken the Fifth.”
There were other comments the judge felt were unacceptable. For example, Nolan asked, “Where is the gun? What was in the garbage bag?”
By asking those questions, she was basically asking the jury to speculate, Martinez said.
The “Golden Rule,” Martinez continued, is to avoid asking people how they are going to feel in the future about their verdict.
“All of these bells have been rung, and there’s not a way around them,” she said.
Rich would have preferred not to have a mistrial and be put into a position of having to try the case a second time. She requested additional instructions for the jury, but Martinez said no.