Reeder's pot trial called off for lack of jurors

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The trial of a Liberty man charged with growing and selling marijuana on three occasions earlier this year was called off on Wednesday because there were not enough jurors to hear the case.

Judge David Bragg ended the proceedings in Cannon County Circuit Court for Donald Ray "Duck" Reeder after the number of acceptable jurors was cut down to 11.

Reeder is facing three counts of manufacturing, delivery, sale or possession of a Schedule VI drug, three counts of maintaining a dwelling for drug use and six counts of possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia used and activities.

The alleged crimes took place in May, September and October.

When the day began Wednesday there were 22 prospective jurors in the courtroom. It was anticipated the trial would last three days. One person was dismissed because they had a child with them and said they could not find someone to care for the child during the trial.

Another 10 potential jurors were eliminated during the voir dire, or challenge for cause, process by the prosecution and defense.

Cannon County Circuit Court Clerk Katina George said 16 people who had been summoned for jury duty on Wednesday did not show up.

George said prospective jurors are selected three times a year, prior to each meeting of the Cannon County Grand Jury, which holds sessions in January, May and September.

In the State of Tennessee, selecting a jury begins when a group of prospective jurors are randomly selected from a list of licensed drivers over the age of 18 in the county where the trial is to be held by an automated system. This group is known as the "jury pool."

The court clerk's office then provides that list to the sheriff's department, who sends out summons cards to those persons.

George said over 200 summons cards were mailed in August to form the current pool. Of those, around 75 appeared at the September term of the grand jury. That left around 55 available for a trial jury pool since members of the grand jury can not hear criminal cases.

A new grand jury will be seated on Jan. 18 when it meets again. Reeder's trial will now take place sometime after that unless both sides agree to a resolution.

Reeder's attorney, Hilton Conger of Smithville, was not too happy that the case can't be resolved this year.

"This was to be my last jury trial," he said. "My birthday is on Christmas and this going to be it for me. 46 years is long enough."

Circuit court is scheduled to meet again on Jan. 10, at which time a new trial date may be set.

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