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Jury sent home before rape trial starts
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A jury was chosen Monday for the trial of Shawn Cundiff but the members were never sworn in, as the case was continued Tuesday morning in Barton County District Court.

Cundiff is charged with two counts of rape – sexual intercourse without consent and use of force. He was arrested by Great Bend Police Department officers in March of 2021 after GBPD investigated a report of an alleged rape.

In September of 2021, Cundiff entered pleas of “not guilty” to both charges.

Five days were scheduled for the trial starting Monday, Dec. 5. Prospective jurors were questioned in the morning and by Monday afternoon, 14 jurors were chosen. They were notified to be ready to be sworn in around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

District Court Judge Carey Hipp said she would meet with the attorneys at 8 a.m. discuss an issue. Cundiff was represented by court-appointed attorney Shannon S. Crane and the State was represented by Assistant County Attorney J. Colin Reynolds.

Around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, Hipp entered the jury room and told everyone the case had been continued and they could go home. 

Hipp said the trial probably won’t happen before the end of the year.

County Attorney Levi Morris later explained that Judge Hipp granted a motion by the defense for a continuance.

“The State objected,” Morris said. “The basis for the continuance was that the defense attorney had failed to adequately prep for trial and file a motion and needed more time to get her act together. The motion was an oral motion, nothing in writing. When the State objected, the defense attorney essentially responded by pointing out that failure to grant the motion could set her up for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel which could have the possibility of having to retry the case in a couple of years.”

Defense attorney Crane declined to comment on the case.