Judge declares mistrial on 1st day of arguments over fatal crash

A long-awaited wrongful-death trial involving a sheriff's deputy came to an abrupt end on its first day when the judge declared a mistrial.

Jackie Raymond’s father was hit and killed by a Payette County sheriff’s deputy in 2011. Raymond sued the sheriff’s department, alleging wrongful death and that the department manipulated the crash investigation to protect the deputy involved.

Jury selection was held Monday, and the trial got under way Tuesday in Payette County before 3rd District Judge Christopher Nye.

By Tuesday afternoon, it was over.

The county's attorney, Michael Kane, told the Statesman one of Raymond's witnesses "began testifying to what the court had previously ruled inadmissible. The court found that the misstep was not capable of being fixed."

Raymond's attorney, Nathan Olsen, said the witness' statement was "inadvertent" and Kane motioned for a mistrial.

"We objected to that," Olsen said. "We thought that we could go forward with the trial, but out of an abundance of caution the judge did go ahead and grant the motion. "

Olsen would not say what his witness said.

The trial will be reset for August or September, according to Olsen.

Just days before the trial's start, Olsen had told the judge that Payette County Sheriff Chad Huff might be tampering with possible jurors.

The Idaho Attorney General's Office is looking into the allegation.

“I unequivocally deny the disparaging allegations levied against me,” Huff told the Statesman on Saturday. “We look forward to defending Payette County in the upcoming trial and I personally look forward to clearing my name.”

Cynthia Sewell: 208-377-6428, @CynthiaSewell
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