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Briefly

Trini Lopez passes away at 83

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Trini Lopez, a singer and guitarist who gained fame for his versions of “Lemon Tree” and “If I Had a Hammer” in the 1960s and took his talents to Hollywood, died Tuesday. He was 83.

Filmmaker P. David Ebersole, who just finished shooting a documentary on Lopez with Todd Hughes, confirmed that Lopez died from complications of COVID-19 at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California.

Business partner and musician Joe Chavira said he and Lopez just finished recording a song “If By Now,” a tune meant to raise money for food banks during COVID-19. “And here he is dying of something he was trying to fight,” Chavira said.

Lopez crossed over into acting, appearing in the World War II drama “The Dirty Dozen,” the comedy “The Phynx” and credits on television’s “Adam-12.” He also designed guitars that became a favorite of Dave Grohl and other rock stars.

Mentored by Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra, Lopez became an international star while performing in English and Spanish.

Court holds jury trial over Zoom

DALLAS (AP) — The jurors appeared on screen from their living rooms, bedrooms and home offices.

Juror 11 took notes as a sheriff’s deputy testified about giving a speeding ticket. Juror 18 occasionally looked away as a white cat scampered across her couch.

They gathered on a video conference call Tuesday in what Texas court officials said is a national first — a virtual jury trial in a criminal case.

“You’re here today for jury duty in a different way,” Judge Nicholas Chu said at the start of the trial. “That’s jury duty by Zoom.”

The Travis County misdemeanor traffic case is the latest experiment in how to resume jury proceedings in a criminal justice system that’s been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. It was greeted by lawyers and legal experts as a low-risk step forward, but one that could imperil defendants’ rights.

Nationwide, the virus has put many court cases on indefinite hold and left some defendants in jail longer, possibly exposing them to outbreaks. It has forced judges to hold hearings via video conference and even led the Supreme Court to hold oral arguments by phone for the first time in its history.

In Texas, fewer than 10 jury trials have been held since state courts resumed in-person proceedings in June.

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