The Hanna Barker murder trial, originally set to begin jury selection in St. Landry Parish on Sept. 27, has been postponed to April 25, 2022. Barker’s counsel claimed that many parish jails, as well as prisons run by the Louisiana Department of Corrections, have suspended all visitations, including visits by inmates’ lawyers, due to the recent rise in COVID numbers.
The suspension prevents the counsel and Barker from effectively preparing for the trial, which is now only weeks away. If the trial were to proceed it would constitute a reversable error on appeal should Barker be convicted.
The prosecution expressed concern for the jurors as well as the considerable risk that the trial might be interrupted due to an imposed quarantine should any counsel, court personnel or juror become sick or test positive for the virus. This is the second time the trial has been postponed due to COVID, the last being in August of last year during the height of the first viral outbreak.
The court granted the request, and ordered the lawyers to return on Sept. 9 for hearings on pending pre-trial motions.