Judge Rules Jury Trial in Sheridan Will Move Forward

A virtual hearing was held Tuesday in Fourth Judicial District Court in Sheridan about a jury trial that is scheduled for later this month. Sheridan Media’s Ron Richter has the details.

Jury Trial

Sheridan County Public Health Officer Dr. Ian Hunter took part in the hearing that was held to determine whether a jury trial scheduled for January 25 in District Court for William Ziska could be held safely amid the pandemic. The trial was originally scheduled for November 16, but was continued by District Court Judge John Fenn due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Sheridan County. There were two trials held in District Court in August.

Dr. Hunter, at Tuesday’s hearing, fielded questions from Judge Fenn and legal counsel who are involved in the case about the safety of conducting a trial later this month. Dr. Hunter said he feels that if the Court follows the same safety protocols and procedures that were followed during the trials in August, he believes that the Court can move forward with jury trials at this time. Following Dr. Hunter’s testimony, Judge Fenn ruled that the trial for Ziska will move forward as planned on January 25.

A pretrial conference will be held prior to the trial. Ziska is charged with 12 counts of Felony Voyeurism, and one count of Sexual Exploitation of Children. Ziska was arrested and charged with the crimes for allegedly installing a video camera in the vent of a bathroom at a residence in Sheridan. The alleged criminal activity occurred between February 19 and March 22 of last year. If convicted on all 13 counts, Ziska faces up to 34 years in prison and fines of up to $70,000.

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