Legal analyst says Slager retrial could end in another mistrial

Legal analyst says Slager retrial could end in another mistrial
Michael Slager in state court last year. (Source: Pool)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager's retrial for murder could result in another mistrial, according to a Charleston defense attorney.

"If the case is tried the exact same way, I think we'll get the exact same result," said attorney and Live 5 legal analyst Mark Peper.

Slager's retrial for the shooting death of Walter Scott is scheduled for March 1.

The ex-cop claims he acted in self-defense after Scott grabbed his taser during a struggle and pointed it at him.

Slager's first trial ended in a mistrial earlier this month after the jury failed to come up with a verdict.

After the judge declared the mistrial in Michael Slager's first murder trial, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson immediately made it clear she would retry the ex-cop.

"I think it's unusual to have a retrial this quickly, this soon. I am very surprised. I think that's the news of the day," Peper said.

However Peper believes both sides will try their cases a little differently this time.

"In this case, it is what it is, the facts are what they are and I think the advantage the state can do is maybe dwindle their case down to maybe six, eight, ten witnesses," Peper said.

"I also think we'll see the defense maybe focus less on trying to go after the character witnesses and more of present a scientific defense of the timing between when it was self defense versus a crime."

If Slager's retrial ends in another mistrial, Peper says he could be retried until a jury can come up with a verdict.

"A mistrial, a hung jury is not a verdict. That is simply we couldn't come up with a verdict. So if there's another mistrial, another hung jury we'll dance again," Peper explained.

Slager's federal trial scheduled to start on May 1.

"It could be that Mr. Slager is in a courtroom, that being state and federal, for up to four straight months trying to establish his innocence," Peper said. "Unprecedented and I don't think we'll see anything like it again."

We reached out to Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and Slager's attorney Andy Savage for a comment.

Wilson said in part, "Certainly, after meeting with several jurors we are reinvigorated and ready to move forward.  The Scott family is anxious for justice, as are we."

Savage said he is out of state tending to a critically ill close friend and that now is not the time for him to worry about court schedules.

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