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Texas prosecutor: Humbug to jurors' holiday cheer

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) -- Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed is no Grinch, but she does not view the Christmas season as the most wonderful time of the year in her line of work: putting criminals away.

Annually, the Texas criminal prosecutor makes every effort to ensure that major cases are not tried during the holiday season, because all of the good spirits are "bad for business," she told a reporter.

"Everybody's in the loving, friendly, forgiving, peace and goodwill toward men spirit," Reed said. "Nobody wants to send their fellow man to prison at a time like this."

Reed and other prosecutors refer to it as the "Santa Claus effect."

She said the acquittal Wednesday of a man accused of stabbing a friend to death, which to prosecutors looked like a slam-dunk case, is an example "of why we don't like to pick juries during this period, if we can avoid it."

Her favorite time of year to pick juries: income tax season.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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