Carroll County Superior Court Judge John Simpson declared a mistrial in the case in August after the prosecutor in the case said in front of the jury that Hines had similar charges pending in Douglas County.
Hines’ case has been continued because her lawyer, Villa Rica attorney Mac Pilgrim, is taking a leave of absence and will not be back for Simpson’s trial week starting Nov. 26.
Status hearings are planned for Dec. 10 for all of Pilgrim’s clients, during a non-jury calendar day.
Hines, 40, a Villa Rica resident, is a former bank manager for a Villa Rica branch of Community and Southern Bank. She is accused of stealing more than $60,000 from bank customers in Bartow, Carroll and Paulding counties between March 2010 and April 2011.
The statement that caused the mistrial in August, made by ADA Vincent Faucette, came during testimony from one of the state’s called witnesses.
Dozens of documents, including emails, online account screenshots and fund transfer receipt copies, were presented to the jury, including one from the bank’s Mirror Lake location, located in Douglas County.
Pilgrim objected to the use of the Mirror Lake documents, saying he did not feel they were relevant because the charges Hines is facing are for Carroll County, and anything that occurred in Douglas County would be irrelevant.
Pilgrim’s objection was sustained by Simpson, but Faucette was given a chance to respond to the objection.
Faucette disagreed and said the documents from the Douglas County location were relevant because they involved the same defendant and victim, and the victim would testify that she had never “stepped foot in” the Mirror Lake location.
“And also, the defendant has charges pending in Douglas County,” he said, effectively causing the mistrial.
Simpson immediately sent the jury to the jury room. With the jury out of the room, Simpson addressed Faucette, repeatedly saying the statement was “inappropriate” and was not relevant.
“I see that as an effort to place the defendant’s character in question,” he said. “Whatever charges are pending in Douglas County cannot be incorporated in the Carroll County case.”
Pilgrim moved to dismiss the trial because he didn’t think “any instruction given to the jury could allow for a fair trial.”
“It was an improper thing to say,” Faucette said. “And I would not have, in using better judgment, mentioned the charges in Douglas County.”
Simpson said he granted the mistrial motion because he thought nothing he could say to the jury about ignoring Faucette’s statement would allow a fair trial for Hines.
“I don’t feel that a curative instruction can adequately address the problem that we have here, and I’m going to grant the motion for mistrial,” Simpson said.