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February 08, 2006

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Publication Date: Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Mistrial in death of La Honda man Mistrial in death of La Honda man (February 08, 2006)

A mistrial was declared in the vehicular manslaughter trial of a Florida man last week in San Mateo County Superior Court.

Robert Reinecker, 48, is charged with recklessly racing his car and causing an accident on Highway 84 west of Four Corners that killed La Honda resident Charles Cutten in April 2004.

Twelve days into the jury trial, during a break on February 2, the court bailiff asked jurors if they were having trouble understanding one of the prosecution's witnesses, according to Steve Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney. When jurors said that they were, the bailiff advised the prosecutor to ask her witness to slow down his speech so the jurors could understand him, Mr. Wagstaffe said.

The following day, Judge John Schwartz granted the defense's motion for mistrial based on misconduct by the bailiff, Mr. Wagstaffe said. A hearing is set for February 16 to discuss a retrial.

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