Appeals court refuses to issue stay in Wecht case
Share with others:
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused today to grant a stay in the appeal of former Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht's case.
Last week, Dr. Wecht filed a motion asking the court to stay its issuance of a mandate allowing his case to be retried, saying that the stay was necessary so that a second trial would not begin an appeal was pending with the U.S. Supreme Court.
In its one-page opinion, the appeals court said the stay was unnecessary and would not preclude Dr. Wecht from appealing with the Supreme Court.
Dr. Wecht's first trial ended in April with a hung jury, and he appealed the declaration of a mistrial. Defense attorneys argued that by allowing a second trial, it would violate Dr. Wecht's double jeopardy rights, which say that a person can only be tried for the same crime once.
The appeals court said U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab did not follow proper procedure in declaring a mistrial but that his errors did not rise to the level of having the case dismissed. However, the Third Circuit did decide to remove Judge Schwab from the case, saying that all sides would benefit from less hostility in the courtroom.
First Published September 23, 2008 2:48 pm