LOCAL : Mistrial Possible in Night Stalker Case Over Attorney's Exhaustion

From Times staff and wire service reports

The attorney for Night Stalker defendant Richard Ramirez is suffering from trial-related nervous exhaustion, the judge reported today, prompting the prosecutor to warn of a possible mistrial.

"Probably the chances of a mistrial are good," Deputy District Atty. P. Philip Halpin told reporters. "We can't keep this jury hanging around indefinitely."

A doctor's report submitted to the judge said that attorney Daniel Hernandez is suffering from stress-related nervous exhaustion resulting from his participation in the long-delayed trial. The doctor recommended psychological counseling and said recovery could take six weeks.

Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan said he will hold hearings before he decides on a remedy for the situation. He ordered Hernandez and his former co-counsel, Arturo Hernandez, no relation, to be in court Wednesday for an inquiry on the state of Hernandez's health and the trial's future.

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