After a months-long hiatus due to the pandemic, Arlington County is preparing to resume jury trials.
“The Arlington Circuit Court is planning to resume jury trials in September 2020,” the court says on its website. “If you received a juror summons for a reporting date after September 1, 2020, please carefully read the front and back of the summons and follow all instructions. Visit the Juror Website or call the Juror Hotline 703-228-0533 to confirm receipt of the summons and to make requests to be deferred or excused.”
The court website says a number of safety measures will be in place, including mandatory mask-wearing for everyone in the courthouse, temperature checks, staggered juror arrival times, social distancing, and readily-available hand sanitizer and wipes.
“Every person who has a case in the Circuit Court is afforded the opportunity of a jury trial pursuant to our Constitution,” the court in a FAQ document. “In resuming jury trials which were delayed due to COVID-19, the Arlington Circuit Court fully understands the need to protect the health and safety of jurors, trial participants, county employees, and the public.”
Those with valid health concerns, COVID-19 risk factors, and known exposures to the virus can request to be excused from jury duty.
Flickr photo by Joe Gratz
Yorktown High School grad Zorigoo Munkhbayar, 23, was walking along eastbound Route 50 near Courthouse early on the morning of Sept. 16, 2011, when he was struck by a box truck. The truck and its driver did not remain at the scene. Police later found Munkhbayar dead, lying in the roadway on the Route 50 exit to N. Rhodes Street.
A month later, after analyzing parts of the truck that were left at the scene, police arrested Marc D. Hicks of Oxon Hill, Md., and charged him with hit and run.
The case went to trial on Monday, with Hicks maintaining that he did not know he struck Munkhbayar. Hicks, 43, claimed that he thought damage to his truck was caused by a deer he struck in Maryland later that morning. (The truck belongs to a commercial snack delivery business.)
On Thursday, however, an Arlington County jury found Hicks guilty of felony hit and run, recommending a sentence of 15 months in prison, according to prosecutors. Hicks will remain in the Arlington County jail pending a final sentencing hearing that’s scheduled for Friday, May 17. At that hearing, a judge will have the option of either imposing the recommended sentence or a reduced sentence.
Jennifer Clarke, the Arlington Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney who prosecuted the case, told ARLnow.com that Hicks was only charged with hit and run, and not any other crimes, because the facts of the case did not suggest that he was negligent in the accident.
“There was no evidence of reckless driving, there was no evidence of intoxication or any impairment, it was just an accident that happened… and he just didn’t stay on scene,” she said.
Clarke said that there were no witnesses to the accident.
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The jury that convicted 25-year-old Javon Martin of robbery and first degree felony murder yesterday for the stabbing of Arlington resident Carl Diener recommends that Martin receive a 27 year sentence.
The jury had the option of recommending sentences up to life in prison for Martin. He is expected to be formally sentenced before Judge Louise DiMatteo in May.
Martin’s cousin and co-defendant, Roger Clark III, pleaded guilty to Diener’s murder last year and will be sentenced at some point in the future. The maximum sentence Clark could receive is 25 years in prison; he was offered a reduced sentence as part of a plea deal for testifying against Martin.
Arlington County sent out the following press release about Martin’s conviction and recommended sentence:
ARLINGTON, Va. – An Arlington County jury yesterday found Javon Martin guilty of murder and robbery for the December 29, 2009 homicide of Carl Diener. Following the guilty finding, the members of the jury recommended a 27 year sentence for Martin, 25, formerly of Washington, D.C. Formal sentencing by Judge Louise DiMatteo is scheduled for a later date.
Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement after the conclusion of the trial.
Diener, 57, a retired federal government employee and a well known and loved member of the Lyon Park community, was found by a passerby stabbed to death lying on the street in the 3200 block of N. 13th Street. As was his practice, he awoke early in the morning to open a local health and fitness club for members. As Mr. Diener was walking from his longtime home to the health and fitness club, he was brutally attacked and left to die.
“From that cold December morning when Mr. Diener’s body was found, the Arlington County Police Department never wavered in their determination to solve this murder, investing hundreds of hours in this investigation,” commented Chief Scott. As a result, murder charges were brought against Roger K. Clark III, 22, of Severn, Maryland, and Javon Martin in June of 2011. Clark pleaded guilty and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Following the trial, Commonwealth’s Attorney Stamos said, “We are extremely grateful to the jury — all of whom worked so hard to reach the right conclusion. Our prayers go out to Carl Diener’s family and hope they will find some comfort in knowing those responsible for his death were held accountable by this community.”
Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division added, “The Homicide Robbery Unit’s efforts and a strong partnership with the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office have resulted in two dangerous individuals being removed from the streets. Unfortunately none of our efforts could ever bring Mr. Diener back and the Arlington community is much poorer for the loss of this great friend to everyone.”
Master Police Officer Rosa Ortiz was the lead detective and the case was prosecuted by Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Newton and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Lynch.