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Local News

Request for voice expert draws concern from state's attorney's office

JOLIET – Defense lawyers want a voice expert to testify via video conference before a man goes to trial on murder charges.

Jordan A. Arthur, 25, is accused of gunning down Courtney L. Jordan, 34, in a Hickory Street parking lot June 1, 2011. Jordan was on the phone with 911 when he was shot and it’s alleged Arthur can be heard on the recording.

Defense attorney Greg DeBord said there is no Illinois case law dealing with voice experts, so prosecutors have requested a hearing to see if the type of evidence the defense wants to use at trial is accepted by the scientific community.

Defense attorney Kylie Hannan told Judge Sarah Jones on Thursday that Harry Hollien pioneered the voice analysis methods they would use and the prosecution would likely try to refute during a trial.

“But while Doctor Hollien is in excellent mental health. He is 88 years old and his physical health prohibits him from traveling from Florida to appear in a courtroom here,” Hannan said.

Hannan told Jones courthouse IT personnel would be able to connect with Hollien using wireless video – such as Skype or FaceTime – and have him projected on a screen in the courtroom. Another voice expert trained in Hollien’s methods would likely appear in person during the trial if the testimony is allowed.

Assistant Will County State’s Attorney Colleen Griffin worried allowing video testimony would set a precedent for other cases – limiting prosecutors’ ability to cross-examine witnesses and denying defendants their Constitutional rights to confront them.

“When remote testimony has been allowed, it’s been during trial for a [direct] witness or victim who can’t be replaced. There’s been no showing this particular witness can’t be replaced,” Griffin said.

Jones asked where granting video testimony would prejudice the case, since the documents Hollien might use could be faxed and he would be under oath, but said she will issue a decision June 11 whether or not it will be allowed.

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