A pretrial conference was recently held in Fourth Judicial District Court for a Sheridan woman charged with Felony Child Abuse. Sheridan Media’s Ron Richter has the details.
0On June 19 of last year, Marie Franks was arrested and charged with Felony Child abuse for an alleged incident that occurred at a residence in Sheridan. Earlier this month, Franks had requested a new court-appointed attorney to represent her in the case. That request, at a hearing on February 4 was denied by District Court Judge John Fenn, who said the information provided by Franks was not adequate enough to warrant a new public defender.
The three-day jury trial is scheduled to begin on March 8 and Judge Fenn said the Court intends to follow the same pandemic protocols that were put in place for the two jury trials that were held in District Court last August. The protocols include approximately 50 prospective jurors that will be broken up into two groups of 25, with each group being in the courtroom for the jury selection process. There will be a seating chart for the prospective jurors to ensure social distancing guidelines are being followed. The jury pool will be pre-screened for any symptoms of COVID-19 before entering the courtroom, and temperature checks will be done daily during the trial. Aside from those seated at the tables where the prosecution and the defendant will be seated, everyone will be required to wear a face covering during the trial. Legal counsel and the defendant can choose to wear a facemask while not speaking if they wish. If convicted, Franks faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.