'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 7: Harris trial moves to Georgia's Golden Isles


The Justin Ross Harris trial heads to Brunswick after a four-month hiatus and a change of venue from Cobb County. What sort of jury will Judge Mary Staley Clark find on Georgia’s coast? Episode Seven of Season Two of Breakdown looks at why the trial’s new venue could be called a prosecutor’s dream.

Legal affairs writer Bill Rankin explores the demographics of Glynn County – while stealing wistful glances of Georgia’s picturesque islands – and chases a mystery involving a newspaper classified ad that could have been an attempt to influence the county’s residents in favor of Harris.

Rankin also catches listeners up on other recent cases involving the deaths of children in hot cars, including the Asa Martell North case in Carroll County. North is facing two counts of second-degree murder for leaving his 15-month-old twin daughters in a hot SUV last month. Although hot car death cases happen with some frequency, Rankin finds that there’s little consistency in how the charges are brought against the parents or caretakers.

Finally, Episode Seven looks at an important motions hearing that took place over the summer. At stake was whether a witness and two items of evidence would be allowed at the trial. The witness, Dr. David Diamond, is the psychologist who coined the term “forgotten baby syndrome,” meant to describe how the phenomenon happens to parents. Prosecutors contended that Diamond should not be able to give his opinion that Harris did not deliberately leave Cooper in the car. The two items of evidence – Harris’ SUV and a 3D rendering of the crime scene – were more contentious issues. In the end, Staley Clark sided with the prosecutors, delivering a setback for the defense as both sides get ready for the trial’s reset on Sept. 12.

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