According to local media reports, the federal court in Urbana, Illinois, held a new round of pre-trial coordination meeting on February 25 on the trial time of the murder of Chinese scholar Zhang Yingying. The defense lawyer then applied for a procrastination to postpone the trial on the grounds that it took time to assess the mental health of the suspect Christensen, which aroused dissatisfaction from all parties.
Judge Shaddid decided several days later to postpone the trial for two months to June 3. Shaddid later explained that the time set could allow the trial to begin before the second anniversary of Zhang Yingyings disappearance (June 9).
The defences procrastination elicits discontent
It is reported that the case of Zhang Yingyings murder has lasted nearly two years since its inception. However, due to the various obstructions of the defence, the court trial has been delayed so far.
According to US media reports, in the latest Pre-trial Coordination Council, defense lawyers requested that the trial be postponed until July 1, citing the time required for the mental health assessment of the suspect Christensen.
This is not the first time defense lawyers have played with delaying tactics to try to delay the trial. The case was originally scheduled to open on February 27, 2018, and was postponed until April 2019.
Reported that as early as November last year, defense lawyers had known that the defendants psychoanalyst could not be ready by April, but it was not until early February that they filed a motion to postpone the trial until October. After the motion was rejected, the defendants said they had found a new psychoanalyst, but needed to postpone the trial until July 1.
Reportedly, the defenses procrastination strategy has aroused resentment from all sides. The prosecution alleged that the defense had not moved until now as a deliberate act. The prosecutor pointed out that Zhang Yingyings case would last two years until June 9 this year, and the prosecution could not accept the case to be tried after two years.
Judge Shadid also criticized the defendants approach. He said, I cant believe your promises, one after another.
Defense lawyer Tucker denied that the defendant was deliberately delaying. He said that the defense had already hinted at a motion to postpone the hearing, but it was unrealistic to move it last year. If we moved this motion in December last year, the court would ask us tocontinue to work(to ensure that the mental health assessment is completed on time).
Shaddid refutes this. He said there would be no problems if the defense changed its psychoanalyst.
Previously, the judge also rejected several motions by defence lawyers to block the trial, including the death sentence violating the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the unreliable results of DNA and serum tests.
The trial was adjourned to June 3
At the pre-trial coordination meeting on February 25, Shaddid said that he hoped that the trial would begin as soon as possible, especially if the issue of guilty plea did not involve the mental health of the accused. He stressed that there was still room for delays after setting an earlier session, but that if the session was too late, it could not be advanced.
A few days after the Pre-Trial Coordination Meeting, Shaddid decided to postpone the start of the trial for two months to 3 June. He explained the decision, which would ensure that the defendants mental health specialists had enough time to examine Kristensen. Shadide also mentioned that he had taken into account the wishes of Zhang Yingyings family, who hoped that the trial would begin before the second anniversary of her disappearance. This may be just a small consolation.
According to reports, psychoanalysts are scheduled to examine Zhang Yingyings suspect Christensen in March, April and May, respectively, before drafting a written report. At present, the prosecution and prosecution are still in dispute. If Christensens diagnosis is different from that before, when should the psychoanalyst inform the result?
However, Wang Zhidong, an attorney representing Zhang Yingyings family members, believes that with the approaching of the trial, the defense will not be willing to give up, and will use all kinds of excuses to justify the suspects, or use all kinds of excuses to request the delay of the trial again, the future struggle between the prosecution and the defense will still be very fierce.
According to reports, prosecutors are still seeking to impose the death penalty on Chris Fujimori, alleging that the suspect had tortured Zhang Yingying. However, the police have not yet found Zhang Yingying or her body.
The jury will be selected in April
It is reported that the selection of juries in the case will begin on April 1 and may last for several days or months.
According to the regulations, both the prosecution and the defense have the right to express the judgesviews on whether certain jury candidates should be excluded, and each party has the right to exclude 20 candidates without asking the reasons.
Earlier this month, Shaddid approved a list of 120 questions for the selection of jury members, including details of what books he liked to read and what dating software he used, in an effort to select impartial jurors to help determine whether Christensen was guilty and whether he should be sentenced to death.
According to the report, some questions include: Have you formed an opinion about Christensens guilt based on what you see, read or hear? If so, what is your opinion? Have you formed an opinion about Christensens punishment based on what you see, read or hear? If so, what is your opinion?
The list also includes questions that seem less relevant to the case, such as: Do you think you are a leader? Have you posted on YouTube, Reddit and other similar websites? Do you often go to churches and other places?
As many media commentaries have said, Zhang Yingyings case will last two years until June 9 this year. Zhang Yingyings traces and whether suspects can be subject to due legal sanctions are topics of continuing concern to both Chinese and American people. At present, the trial of this case has been repeatedly postponed. The defence lawyers procrastination has caused dissatisfaction from the judges, prosecutors and other parties. It is hoped that Zhang Yingyings case can be opened as soon as possible without interference from all parties, and Christensen can be severely punished by law.
Zhang Yingying Case Time Line
On June 9, 2017, Zhang Yingying disappeared from the University of Illinois at Champaign.
On June 30, the same year, Christensen was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Zhang Yingying, which later escalated to kidnapping leading to Zhang Yingyings death.
On July 12, 2017, the U.S. Federal Grand Jury formally sued Christensen.
On January 19, 2018, the U.S. Attorney General approved Christensens death sentence. But Christensen has refused to plead guilty.
Zhang Yingyings case was originally scheduled to open on February 27, 2018, and was postponed until April 2019.
In early February 2019, the defence lawyer filed a motion to postpone the trial date to October 2019, which was later rejected.
On February 25, 2019, defense lawyers filed for an extension of the trial until July 1 on the grounds that it took time to assess the mental health of the suspect Christensen. Judge Shaddid decided to postpone the trial to June 3 a few days later.
Source: Responsible Editor of Legal Daily: Shi Jianlei_NBJ11331