First jury trial

The 21st Judicial District provided dividers between jurors' seats for the trial of Jessie James Baker, 35, of Hammond, this week in district court.

District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said Thursday he believes this was the first jury trial to be held in the state since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Louisiana this year.

Court Administrator Sara Brumfield arranged for parish workers to build portable wooden stands with plexi-glass to separate the jurors for social distancing, the district attorney said.

Perrilloux said jury selection followed current standard procedures for entering the parish courthouse in Amite. Prospective jurors reported for duty and remained in their vehicles until notified.

The trial took place in the large courtroom, which can accommodate social distancing for the judge, attorneys and spectators, he said. Only a few people were in the audience.

Baker was found guilty of illegal use/carrying of weapons while in possession/control of a controlled dangerous substances and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

His sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Assistant District Attorney Leā€™Anne Malnar represented the State of Louisiana, and Judge Brenda Ricks will hand down the sentence.

Perrilloux could not predict if the portable dividers will be used for the next jury trial, which might take place in August in Livingston Parish.

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