EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A judge has denied a request for a new trial for David Bueso, accused of killing his roommate in 2017. His legal team filed the appeal after a recent state supreme court decision regarding jury selections in East Baton Rouge Parish. A computer glitch prevented anyone under the age of 26 from being selected for jury duty.
More appeals from other cases are likely.
Attorneys for Bueso filed the appeal Monday, April 22, saying the makeup of both the grand jury that indicted Bueso and the petit jury that convicted him improperly excluded a segment of the population.
A judge denied that appeal Friday, April 26.
“I think it’s a very clear case of what should happen,” said attorney Kyla Blanchard-Romanach.
Bueso was convicted by a non-unanimous jury earlier in 2019 for the 2017 beating death of his roommate on Coy Avenue in the Gardere area.
In an unrelated case, lawyers for a man accused of killing a Shreveport police officer discovered during jury selection in East Baton Rouge Parish in early April that no one under the age of 26 had been summoned for jury duty.
"It is the worst injustice that I've seen in my over 20 year career,” said Romanach.
It was later discovered a glitch in the parish’s jury selection computer server had prevented anyone under the age of 26 from being selected for jury duty since 2011. The glitch also excluded new residents to the parish. In that case, the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered that a new jury pool be summoned. The trial had not yet started.
"If we're going to send people to prison, we've got to get it right and I don't think the East Baton Rouge has gotten it right," said Romanach.
In the Bueso case, lawyers argued the flawed jury selection should be the basis for granting him a new trial.
“The petit jury in Mr. Bueso’s case was illegally constituted in violation of both the federal and state constitutions and statutory law,” attorneys Kyla Blanchard-Romanach and Ashley Chandler argued in their motion for a new trial. “The grand jury that indicted Mr. Bueso was similarly illegally constituted,” the filing also claims.
District Attorney Hillar Moore though says he does not believe the Supreme Court ruling can be applied in Bueso’s case based on how the law reads. "The courts will decide eventually what they believe that the law is but we do not believe that this will be made retroactive," said Moore.
When Bueso was arrested in 2017, investigators say they found his roommate’s blood on Bueso’s clothing, but he denied killing him.
It is one of a number of appeals that could soon pop up citing the flawed jury process but Moore believes the cases that have already been decided will stand.
"No other such motions have ever been made so we believe that this is really limited to this one case,” he added.
Romanach says they are confident their case will succeed, but she tells WAFB they are already prepared to appeal the case further if not.