Juror dismissals leave little wiggle room for Schoharie limo trial

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The number of jurors in the Nauman Hussain Schoharie limo crash manslaughter trial is teetering on a precarious line.

Illness and indiscretion have whittled a once lush number of jurors down from 16 to 13.
After just two days of trial testimony, they are down to just one juror in the bullpen.

Two more jurors were excused on Tuesday. One of them apparently showed up to the courthouse stoned, which infuriated Judge Peter Lynch, who called that individual unfit to serve. It caused the judge to address the entire jury panel. Lynch told them he won’t tolerate jurors smoking marijuana before coming to court – it is appalling.

Lynch then telephoned a woman who called in sick, speaking to her on speakerphone. She told him sitting in the courtroom stirred up her allergies on Monday.

When she complained of breathing difficulties, and told him she wouldn’t be able to make it in today, the judge also dismissed her.

That means after the 12 main jurors, there is only one alternate left – for a trial expected to last more than a month – with more than 100 witnesses.

“That was unusual. I will say that,” said defense attorney Lee Kindlon. “Three very different reasons. I certainly hope our juror’s feeling better, but yeah, to lose three jurors on day two of a trial that’s supposed to last for five weeks – you know, I really hope we can get to the end here.”

If the jury falls to less than 12 jurors, there will be an automatic mistrial.

The only witness to take the stand on Tuesday was New York State DOT inspector Chad Smith. He’s the person who initially discovered deficiencies and irregularities with the stretch limo in question more than a year before the crash.

Kindlon said he expects the Mavis Discount Tire manager to take the witness stand on Wednesday.

Mavis is the company Kindlon has accused of committing fraud, claiming and being paid for work they never performed.

The trial resumes at 9:30 Wednesday morning.