Mistrial sought over jury makeup

A defense attorney asked for a mistrial in a murder case Wednesday when it was learned that a couple serving on the jury did not disclose that they were married.

The attorney, Dayvid Figler, asked that a mistrial be declared on behalf of Keith Currie, charged in the October 2006 slaying of Andrew "Kyle" Taylor.

Knowing the jurors were married could have affected how Currie's defense team picked a jury, Figler told District Judge David Barker.

"The jury selection process was subverted," Figler said.

Barker didn't grant the request. Instead, he offered to remove one or both jurors and replace them with alternates.

Figler and his co-counsel, Dan Bunin, declined to take the judge up on the offer. Figler said removing the two jurors would have made the situation worse because the jury's makeup would be altered.

He called his argument a procedural one.

Prosecutors didn't take a stand on the issue.

The judge interviewed the two jurors, who share the last name Jones, and asked whether they could keep their relationship from influencing their deliberations.

The two jurors told the court that they could be impartial, county prosecutor Brian Kochevar said.

Barker said it didn't appear the jurors intentionally misled the court.

Currie, 21, is a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair. He maintains he was defending himself when he shot and killed Taylor, 20.

The case already has experienced one mistrial. In March, a key witness violated a court order.

Michael Sommermeyer, District Court spokesman, said it is extremely rare that a married couple would serve on a jury together.

Potential jurors are selected from Nevada Department of Motor Vehicle and Nevada Power records.

They are selected at random by computer, Sommermeyer said.

Contact reporter David Kihara at dkihara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.