A Florida judge granted YNW Melly’s request to strike an entire panel of prospective jurors on Wednesday (November 8). The jury selection process had to start over after the defense made a misstatement of the law, per Law & Crime’s Cathy Russon.
The defense told jurors the prosecution had to prove all elements of the crime, including YNW Melly’s alleged gang association, beyond a reasonable doubt to find him guilty. Prosecutors objected, noting how the defendant can still be found guilty of murder “whether or not the jury finds the gang enhancement.”
Prosecutors wanted the jury instructions to be read again to clear up the confusion. The court agreed, but YNW Melly’s legal team asked to strike the entire panel because the defense would lose “all credibility with the jurors should the court read that instruction.” The defense got its wish, much to the chagrin of the prosecution.
“While the state understands the court acting in an abundance of caution, objections being sustained and jury instructions being read by the court to rectify the misstatement of law should not rise to the level of starting over,” prosecutors argued in a motion. “All of this time being spent on jurors that have now been struck could have gone to time both sides clearly need to further prepare for the trial. The state does not want this to become a pattern where with each objection made, another group of jurors is struck.”
YNW Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, faces a retrial for the 2018 murders of YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser. The rapper was previously tried for first-degree murder over the summer. The trial ended with a hung jury.
Jury selection for YNW Melly’s retrial began in October. The process started after his lawyers successfully convinced Judge John Murphy to remove former lead prosecutor Kristine Bradley from the case.