|A portrait of Hassan Zeidan, who was killed this past summer after a pickup basketball game, hangs in front of the Zeidan household in Dearborn. PHOTO: Nick Meyer/TAAN|
Youngblood chose not to wait for prosecutor Lisa Screen who was busy with another case in the same building, but had informed Youngblood of the time conflict last week.
The case must now work its way back up through the system while Faraj remains in jail, but the original words by Judge Carole Youngblood of “case dismissed” stunned those in attendance, causing the hearts of family and friends to drop according to Zeidan's mother Mariam.
“We were all sick to our stomach, we didn't believe what we were hearing, and were asking ourselves 'What does case dismissed mean?'” she said.
Prosecutors followed the family into the hallway to inform them that the case would be quickly refiled.
Now, the process is scheduled to restart all over again at the 19th District Court at 1 p.m. On Feb. 24 before Judge Mark Somers.
“We're back to square one like it just happened yesterday, back to point one,” said Zeidan's mother Mariam, whose family has already seen the case delayed from its original Dec. 5 starting date.
“She could have granted us even an hour or made us come back tomorrow, we had no problem with that but now we have to go back to Dearborn again.”
Youngblood had asked for a new prosecutor to begin jury selection after prosecutor Lisa Screen, who had been working on the case for months, was unable to make it while tied up with the other case.
According to Maria Miller, the director of communications for the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, Screen was in a jury trial from the previous week that continued into Tuesday. She told Youngblood that last week, to which the judge responded that she would give Screen until noon to proceed. Screen sent her supervisor to court to ask Youngblood to briefly adjourn the case, which the defense agreed to, as it is not an unusual request. But Youngblood instead ordered the supervisor to begin picking a jury for a case he was not familiar with, a problem the supervisor indicated to her. Youngblood still decided to dismiss the case.
“Needless to say we thought that the dismissal of the case was an extreme remedy when (it) could have been adjourned for another date,” Miller said.
The family also said they’re not fond of the policy of letting Faraj walk freely and close to them in court, especially after he was handcuffed in Dearborn.
The decision took less than 10 minutes according to Mariam Zeidan. Miller seemed to agree with the family regarding the damaging effects of the decision.
Miller said it was a “very unusual occurrence,” one that certainly isn't making life any easier on a family that has been anxiously awaiting closure.
“Now the case will need to begin all over again causing a tremendous strain on the parents of the victim, as well as an unnecessary expenditure of time and resources for our office and the judicial system,” Miller said.