Peckler said he could be called as a witness in the trial of Ronnie Cornett, who is accused of plotting to murder his ex-wife, her attorney and Boyle Family Court Judge Bruce Petrie during a hearing in his divorce case in December. Peckler recused himself as judge in the case because of his professional relationship with Petrie but said he could be called to testify in the case as chief of security for the courthouse. Cornett was scheduled to go to trial July 18 but the case was postponed Thursday and a new date has not yet been set.
"I was excused in that one because of concerns that a potential witness could contaminate the jury pool," he said.
Peckler is presiding over the murder trial of Jack Caldwell Sr., who is accused of gunning down his neighbor, retired Danville principal Jim Trachsel, in August over a long-running property dispute. That trial is set for Aug. 15.
Third time he has been called for jury duty
This marks the third time in the last 14 years Peckler has been called up for jury duty.
"I get picked about every 4-1/2 years," he said.
But he's never actually served on a jury because he suspects that attorneys in charge of selecting jurors don't want anyone with a legal background on a jury.
"I would think that most lawyers would not want a judge or anyone with law training to sit on jury for fear they would take over deliberations," he said.
Commonwealth's Attorney Richard Bottoms said he's never had the option of selecting a judge as a juror because they are often excused because they have knowledge of a case, know some of the parties involved or have other conflicts. But Bottoms said he believes a judge could do the job well.
"I think a judge would always be a fair juror," Bottoms said. "The concern is always who can listen to the facts fairly. The profession is not as important as whether a juror can be fair."
The state used to have automatic exemptions for "necessary personnel" such a teachers, doctors, police officers and judges, but that changed several years ago, Peckler said. That opened up the chance for Peckler to be at least be called as a potential juror even though it's unlikely he'll ever be selected to decide a case.
"I wouldn't mind doing it. It would be interesting to know the process of the jury as they go through their deliberations," he said. "But I think my chances of ever serving as a juror are pretty much nil because of my position."