A motion to empanel a separate jury for Colonies Four defendant Jim Erwin was filed in the San Bernardino Superior Court on Wednesday of this week. Although the court website does not say which side filed the motion, San Bernardino Sun reporter Joe Nelson tweeted that it was the prosecution that filed the motion.
The possibility for two juries was brought up at the July 1 hearing. According to a story by San Bernardino Sun reporter Ryan Hagen:
But separate juries may still be needed, Cope said after the trial date was set, saying that Burum and defendant Jim Erwin, a former assistant county assessor and political operative, may need different juries because statements they made to law enforcement may not be admissable in each other’s cases. Smith instructed Cope to submit a brief explaining his argument for separate juries by Aug. 28, giving defense attorneys until Oct. 2 to reply and setting a hearing on the issue for Oct. 30.
Cope’s comments are intriguing when you know the history between Jeff Burum and Jim Erwin. Erwin has always said he has the goods on Burum if Burum goes south on him. Considering how much Erwin brags, one can only imagine what he said when being interviewed by law enforcement.
But whatever the reason the prosecution gives as its official reason for the request, I have to think this is tactical as much as anything. I have said that I think Jeff Burum, Paul Biane and Mark Kirk could get off. I think Erwin is going to prison. A separate jury would mean that any sympathy for Burum, et al., their jury may feel, will not rub off on Erwin’s jury. Erwin played the heavy in all of this, and continues to do so. The prosecution has a boatload of evidence to that effect. Jim Erwin is not a sympathetic character in all of this.
This in a way pits Erwin against the rest, especially Burum. Although over on the other blog they claim the defense camp is all of the same mind and they get along great, believe me when I say that isn’t true. It’s a small town and bickering and complaining get around. It is anything but what Erwin wants everyone to believe. It may be that in person they get along, but when away from the joint meetings, there is a whole lot of bitchin’ going on and it is aimed at Erwin.
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