Sep 14, 2011

James Ray New Trial Motion DENIED

Not surprised, but relieved all the same, that Judge Darrow has rejected James Ray's motion for a new trial. As discussed here, Ray's attorneys had argued for a new trial alleging prosecutorial misconduct.

Without elaboration, Judge Warren Darrow on Wednesday denied a new trial for motivational speaker James Arthur Ray.

Ray, 53, was convicted in late June on three counts of negligent homicide in the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman after an October 2009 sweat lodge ceremony at a retreat center near Sedona. He faces the possibility of as long as nine years in prison.

Rejected last week was a request from Ray's attorneys to vacate the mitigation and pre-sentencing hearing scheduled for next week. From their motion, it appears that they were operating from the assumption that the new trial motion would be a granted. They have made no travel plans for witnesses and claim that scheduling at this point would be a hardship. Bill Hughes argued in the prosecution's objection to the request that they've had plenty of time to plan for the long scheduled hearing and that any further delays in sentencing are denying justice to the family members of the victims. It's a great read.

I noted that in Mark Duncan's write-up of today's decision, he mentions that Ray's attorneys will "present as many as 19 witnesses on Ray's behalf." That's down a bit from the 27 they'd previously claimed would appear. Prosecutor Sheila Polk plans to present 7 witnesses and 11 friends of the deceased to rebut assertions that he's a really great guy.

The hearing -- which follows Judge Darrow to his new courtroom digs in Prescott -- remains scheduled for September 19-23 with sentencing on September 26. That last also happens to be my birthday. I know what I want for a birthday present this year.

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