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Judge Blames Federal Budget Cuts In Denial Of Jury Sequestration Request

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - Citing the impact of federal budget cuts, a federal judge has rejected prosecutors' request to sequester a jury in a murder and racketeering trial in Brooklyn.

As WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported, Federal Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. agreed with prosecutors that the jury would certainly benefit from protection in the upcoming trial of the leader of violent Brooklyn drug gang.

Johnson said he would keep the jurors' names secret but wouldn't take extra measures because the court had to "be mindful of today's economic climate.''

Judge Blames Federal Budget Cuts In Denial Of Jury Sequestration Request

Judge Johnson wrote a 10-page decision on the matter, noting that federal budget cuts have forced cuts to the bone, but sequestration "has forced cuts to the marrow'' for the judiciary.

His ruling came in the case of a Brooklyn man accused of leading the Bloods street gang that ran a drug operation for 12 years from four buildings they controlled in the Crown Heights section.

Laron Spicer is accused in the murder of a rival drug dealer and has a prior conviction for making a death threat against a police officer in the hallway of the State Supreme Court building in Brooklyn, Cornell reported.

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