June 27, 2013

Murder trial postponed until September

Court cites insufficient number of potential jurors

By KIM SMITH DEDAM Press-Republican

---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — The start date in the murder trial of Paul J. Taylor has been moved to Sept. 23.

Jury selection had been slated for June 10 and then, after another adjournment, July 1.

Essex County Court Judge Richard B. Meyer ordered the newest postponement Wednesday, indicating there were not enough potential jurors available for service.

The commissioner of jurors told Meyer, according to court documents, that 140 potential jurors responded out of 400 summoned.

Taylor faces a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the homicide death of Keeseville resident Robert J. Rennie last August.

He also faces gang assault and weapon-possession charges in the case. 

Two jury trials held this spring in Essex County Court found Scott E. Denno and Michael D. Rivers both guilty of first-degree manslaughter and felony gang assault for Rennie’s death.


The court order issued by Meyer on Wednesday said that a panel of 178 possible jurors was questioned in preparation for the Rivers trial.

Seventy-five of them “were postponed due to prior knowledge of the underlying facts and other reasons,” the judge wrote.

In the adjournment order for Tayor’s trial, he said “that a jury cannot be selected out of a pool of 140 potential jurors, particularly where the People (prosecution) and the defendant each have 20 peremptory challenges for the 12-person jury and two additional peremptory challenges for each alternate.”

Peremptory challenges are a set of questions each potential juror must clear to be part of the jury.

Four alternates will be selected along with the 12-person jury.


Taylor’s trial had been moved to July 1 from June 10 pending transcripts of a trial testimony in both the Denno and Rivers cases and transcripts from Taylor’s suppression hearing.

Public Defender Brandon Boutelle had since asked for further adjournment. 

But Meyer denied the request, saying it was moot due to the insufficient jury pool.

Taylor’s trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection at 9 a.m. Sept. 23.

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