Michael Lynch had been scheduled to go on trial June 1 in Teton County for burglary, theft, forgery and domestic battery.

But jury trials are on hold because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s not Mr. Lynch’s fault that we find ourselves in these uncertain and very different times,” Lynch’s attorney Elisabeth Trefonas said during a hearing Monday.

The pandemic presents a tricky situation for courts because defendants have a right to go on trial within a certain period of time, also known as the right to a speedy trial.

Judges are starting to address the fact that they have upcoming jury trials and no way to safely hold them.

In a virtual hearing Monday morning Trefonas said her client would waive his right to a speedy trial if the court would release him from Teton County Jail on a signature bond.

Michael Lynch

Michael Lynch

Lynch was booked back into jail in January after violating his probation. His bond has been $100,000.

The state and Lynch have not been able to agree to a plea deal, and the case was set to be tried in June, the first of many criminal trials set for this summer.

Judge Timothy Day said higher courts are discussing the best possible solutions, like calling a jury pool but making masks mandatory or doing voir dire by video.

“It’s very difficult right now to predict when we will have jury trials,” Day said.

The court is allowing Lynch to get out on pretrial release and go live with his mother in Colorado.

“We are willing to do that under the extraordinary circumstances we are facing,” Teton County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan said.

Lynch is facing a slew of charges including aggravated burglary, theft, forgery and domestic battery.

Police said he stole more than 400 pricey items from construction clients over the past few years. The long evidence list includes guns, drugs and expensive rugs.

Allan previously said Lynch, 37, violates his terms of release every time he bonds out of jail.

Aside from allegations he cut off his ankle monitor in December, deputies said before that he cut his hair and hid under his ex-girlfriend’s bed trying to elude deputies who wanted to serve a warrant.

When asked, Lynch told the court Monday that he will make himself available and follow the terms of probation.

“One hundred percent yes, your honor,” Lynch said. “I want to get everything over with and move past things. I’m not going to be any problem.”

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or courts@jhnewsandguide.com.

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