OK, this is incredibly disgusting but it is another example of what lawyers sometimes have to deal with in court. James Orr, 66, stopped his trial for robbery and kidnapping when he removed his colostomy bag and began to consume the contents. While this particular act is thankfully uncommon, the courts have to grapple with such acts to terminate trials. Judges are reluctant to reward such conduct with a mistrial, but there are not many good options for the judge. In this case, however, Common Pleas Court Judge Ethna Cooper appears intent upon continuing the trial and prosecutors have argued the act was nothing more than a tactic to stop the trial.
Orr’s attorney Norm Aubin told the court that the first warning that he had was when Orr leaned over and asked if Aubin had anything to eat. When he was told there was not food, he complained and reached for the bag.
The judge had to declare the courtroom a biohazard area and clear it.
Hamilton County prosecutor David Prem believes that Orr did this on purpose and has objected that he is a con man who tried various methods to get out of the trial. He was previously found to have faked mental incompetence.
He will now be evaluated again, but the trial is scheduled to continue.
Orr is accused of first trying to trick a woman at a Chinese restaurant to give him and his partner money. When that did not work, he pulled a gun and kidnapped her and her three children — taking them to a bank to withdraw $1000.
These cases tend to be easier when the disruptive behavior occurs before a judge rather than a jury — as in Orr’s case. The prejudicial impact on the jury is so great that a mistrial is often declared. In a bench trial, the judge is trained to avoid such prejudice and can order the defendant to comply with the rules of the court or watch the trial from a cell by remote television links.
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