Inmates at Chatham County jail Are Watching Court-TV - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/09/06

Inmates at Chatham County jail Are Watching Court-TV

Folks across the country are watching the Jennifer Ross trial as it unfolds on television. Including inmates in the Chatham County jail. And that poses a problem for prosecutors.

It seems like all eyes are on the Jennifer Ross murder trial, including the inmates at the Chatham County jail. District Attorney David Lock brought it to the courts attention that the inmates inside the jail were watching the trial on Court-TV.

When jail administrator Col. McArthur Holmes heard that he immediately did what he could to protect the half dozen witnesses in the jail who are expected to testify.

"We immediately separated those inmates from the general population and also in the process of clocking out all the channels for 33 Court TV channel," said Holmes.

Holmes says unlike other cases the inmates can watch this trial in its entirety learning all the details of the case.

"They are able to see a lot more of what goes on in the court room," said Holmes.

Defense Attorney Michael Schiavone has had his fair share high profile trials like Nicole Redman the former Miss Savannah who was found not guilty in the shooting death of her boyfriend. He says he can see how inmates watching the trial could be a big problem for the District Attorney

"Because these witnesses may or may not be influenced by that and suddenly they won't testify or testimony could be clouded based on the threats in jail," said Schiavone.

Schiavone says the District Attorney can file charges.

"The could be prosecution by district attorney against any inmates that would try to intimidate a witness that's a crime by itself," said Schiavone.

Schiavone says protecting the witnesses even those behind bars is key for prosecutors.

"No one in judicial system wants witness to be influenced or threatened before they testify," said Schiavone.

Reported by: Brooke Kelley, bkelley@wtoc.com

 

 

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