Members of a Hamilton County jury chosen Tuesday to decide the fate of a 21-year-old man were back in their homes Tuesday night, rather than sequestered in a hotel as they had expected.
Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman reluctantly decided not to proceed with the trial of Raymond Nicholas Phillips at this time after a typo was discovered in the indictment issued by the grand jury in 2009.
His decision came during a highly unusual evening session during which jurors had expected to hear opening statements from prosecutor H.C. Bright and defense attorney Jerry Summers in the child rape case.
Phillips was indicted for two counts of child rape and three counts of aggravated sexual battery involving a boy younger than 13, according to court records.
Allof those contacts occurred during 2008, attorneys told the judge Tuesday evening.
In the indictment, however, a typo incorrectly indicated one of the five counts took place in 2007 rather than a year later.
UnderTennessee law, defendants have the right to know exactly what they are being accused of,the judge said, so that they can prepare an effective rebuttal to the charges.
Finding out on the day a trial begins that an alleged crime occurred a year later than the indictment indicated simply does not provide defendants with adequate notice, he indicated.
The judge scheduled a hearing for Sept 10 to determine what needs to be done to correct the mistake made in the indictment containing the typo. It may benecessary to have the grand jury re-hear the case and issue a new indictment, attorneys said in court.
Phillipsalso faces two additional indictments, one for allegedly raping a victim who was“mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless” at the time of that incident, and a second for the sexual battery of a 14-year-old girl. No dates have been set for trials on those indictments.
CriminalCourt records indicate Phillips was a juvenile at the time of his first arrestfor rape, which reportedly occurred Jan. 27, 2008.
However, the case was later transferred to Criminal Court where he will be tried as an adult.