Settle in and get comfortable, the HERO repeal petition trial is going to take some time.
Ultimately, though, the trial is expected to be tedious and technical. So much so, that even after the city lost a significant motion two weeks ago to send the trial before a judge rather than a jury, Parker focused her concern on the jurors.
“What I do feel sorry for is the jurors who are going to have to go through page by page, signature by signature over a matter of weeks,” Parker said. “A trial that could have taken a week or two is probably going to take a couple of months to get through, and that’s a lot to ask for the jurors, but we will do whatever we need to do to defend the position.”
“The reason why you don’t typically get a jury trial in election-related cases is it’s a time issue,” election law attorney Doug Ray said. “They need to either get on the ballot or decide the results.”
The case likely will unfold slowly as attorneys on both sides have the luxury of time – with the deadline for placing the repeal referendum on the November ballot about six months away.
Judge Robert Schaffer already has indicated that not only will jurors need to review petition pages, but he will as well.
The trial officially started last week, with some administrative details being handled. Jury selection is the first order of business. Among the things the jury will get to hear are allegations of fraud and forgery in the petition process. This is going to be a long and tedious trial, but it won’t be a boring trial.