Supreme Court candidate’s talk to jury derails trial

It’s common practice, especially for judicial and district attorney races, for candidates to speak to juries — introduce themselves and tell them why they are running for office. Kitchens was doing so before a jury Tuesday morning. But according to multiple sources including witnesses, Kitchens went beyond the usual intro and campaign pitch.

Kitchens has been angered by third-party attack ads during this cycle that have accused him of siding with child abusers and murderers and ignoring victims and families. The ads attack Kitchens on his vote on the high court to review two cases, one involving the sexual abuse of a child and the other the beating death of a child.

Kitchens addressed the attack ads with the jury, according to witnesses, telling those in the courtroom that he is and has been tough on child abusers.
But a case of a defendant charged with gratification of lust and sexual battery of his granddaughter was scheduled for trial before some of the potential jurors Kitchens addressed. At the defense’s request, Judge John Emfinger dismissed the jurors and pushed the trial back to January.

Kitchens late Tuesday said he has offered to personally reimburse “any and all costs incurred by Rankin County” for the incident.

Clarion Ledger