Mezrow Suffers Third Mistrial in Two-Year Period

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At the end of the day on Nov. 18, 2011, according to the motion, North again argued to DiVito that Mezrow's line of questioning had pertained to the inadmissible sidewalk construction and DiVito advised defense counsel to file a motion for mistrial.

The defense filed its motion for mistrial Nov. 20, 2011, and a hearing was held Nov. 21, 2011, at the end of which DiVito granted the motion.

The second trial in Antonson actually resulted in a second mistrial in April 2012, after Mezrow objected to North's assertion during cross-examination of plaintiff's liability expert, Julius Pereira, that she "was a religion major in college" and the defense objected to Antonson's testimony that the defendants had insurance.

Ultimately, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Paul P. Panepinto granted both parties' motions for mistrial but refused to grant either side attorney fees and costs, according to North.

Pansini told The Legal on Thursday that while he respects the court's rulings in all three cases, he does not believe Mezrow violated the court's orders in either Williams or the first Antonson trial.

"With regard to Antonson, that was something where Steve actually cleared it with the court before he did it," Pansini said, referring to DiVito's allowance of Mezrow to continue questioning Basile on the photographs over North's objections.

"The record will speak for itself," Mezrow added Thursday with regard to Antonson. "The court said, 'This is a proper question. Ask the question.' There was no objection and then two, three days later there was a motion saying the question shouldn't have been asked."

Pansini said of the practice in general that he believes the decision by defense counsel to seek mistrial is often a matter of strategy.

"From my perspective, I will say that I believe that if you are a defendant or a defense counsel and you feel that your case is going well and you have a jury who is going to find in favor of your client, you are not going to ask for a mistrial," Pansini said.

Zack Needles can be contacted at 215-557-2493 or zneedles@alm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ZNeedlesTLI.

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