Hung jury in smugglng trial of corrections officer

2014-06-13T11:44:00Z 2014-06-13T22:32:36Z Hung jury in smugglng trial of corrections officerStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 13, 2014 11:44 am  • 

MICHIGAN CITY | Prosecutors on Friday were undecided whether to re-try a case against a Valparaiso woman accused of smuggling drugs into a prison.

A hung jury was the outcome of the trial for Christine Evans, an officer at Westville Correctional Facility when she was arrested on allegations of drug smuggling in January 2013.

Evans, 29, stood trial this week in LaPorte Superior Court 2 on Class C felony trafficking. According to authorities, Evans carried more than 80 grams of synthetic marijuana into the prison while reporting for work and placed the drug into a trash can.

Evans was an officer trainee who had been hired the previous August.

Her attorney, Larry Rogers, of Valparaiso, said there should have been video of her activities that would have cleared Evans of the allegations. However, Rogers said prosecutors claimed the surveillance video could not be recovered from the DVR used to capture the footage.

He also said there were no pictures and other physical evidence to prove the case against his client.

"It was basically just a very circumstantial case I think and they did, in my opinion, a very terrible investigation, and I hammered that home to the jury as often as I could," Rogers said.

After six hours of deliberating, the jury returned about 6:30 p.m. Thursday without a verdict.

LaPorte County Deputy Prosecutor John Lake said his office has the option of re-trying the case, but did not know if that will happen.

"We're going to take a look at it and decide," Lake said.

He chose not to comment further to avoid the potential for tainting a jury should the case go before a jury a second time.

Rogers said his client denied from the beginning that she brought drugs into the prison.

"It's my experience that juries now want the evidence that the state is capable of producing and, when they don't have it, they suffer," Rogers said.

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