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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chasse Trial Moved After 2010 Primary

Posted by Matt Davis on Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 5:22 PM

The federal trial related to the 2006 death in police custody of James Chasse has been rescheduled to June 2010, according to the court docket this afternoon. The case was scheduled for a 13-day jury trial starting on March 16, but has now been moved to a longer 16-day trial, starting on June 1.

The timing change is significant, because next year's primary election for Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman's seat is due in May. Should any of the four candidates filing for public financing manage to force a runoff, then that would happen in November—so the two elections will now sandwich the rescheduled trial.

Depending on the outcome, the rescheduling could impact the election in different ways. If the city were to be cleared of liability for Chasse's death, then it's arguable that a trial before the primary would help Saltzman's chances. Having the outcome of the trial in doubt during the primary could give his opponents leverage.

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