An unpublished Arizona appellate decision considered an identity theft, theft, and fraudulent schemes case. The charges arose after a high-end mountain bike was stolen from a home in 2010 and then sold on Craigslist. At trial, the defense attorney stated that the mountain bike the defendant sold wasn’t the bike stolen from the home, as made plain by the difference in serial numbers.
The defense attorney cross-examined the buyer of the bike. The buyer’s wife gave the police officer a piece of paper on which she’d put two numbers that the victim of the theft said were on his bike. One of these numbers matched the bike the buyer bought. The buyer’s wife had kept the paper for three years without turning it over to the police until a few weeks before trial. The first the defense counsel and prosecutor heard of it was during the cross-examination.
The court asked the parties if they wanted a mistrial due to the surprise. The defense attorney initially said that one way to deal with what happened was a mistrial, but he was clear that he would rather go to trial with the same jury. The prosecutor suggested empaneling a new jury or precluding any more evidence about the scrap of paper. The defense attorney also stated that he wouldn’t move to strike the surprise testimony because he didn’t want to call attention to it, and if a mistrial were deemed necessary, he would ask for a dismissal with prejudice.