Publications & Presentations
March 11, 2021

What’s It Like to Try a Case to a Jury During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Co-Author, American Bar Association

Leslie Merritt Jr. was charged on September 18, 2015, with 16 criminal counts related to the shooting of four vehicles on Interstate 10 as they passed near downtown Phoenix. The investigation was conducted by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (the state police agency, best known as DPS). Merritt was held in the county jail for seven months, then released by county prosecutors after they received inconclusive test results of the bullets found in the four vehicles. Shortly after Merritt’s release, he filed claims against the State, several high-ranking DPS officials, Maricopa County, and the Maricopa County attorney.

On October 28, 2020, jury selection began in his civil suit in federal court in Phoenix, on 2 counts of the original 10-count civil complaint: false arrest and false imprisonment. Maricopa County had settled years earlier, the individual defendants had been dismissed, and the State was the sole defendant remaining. We represented the State of Arizona and the Department of Public Safety.