The state’s highest court Thursday rejected an appeal by a New York man who contended his murder conviction should have been set aside because his trial was delayed by the pandemic.

Carine Reeves argued that he should been tried within 120 days of his extradition, but the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled the timeframe outlined by an interstate compact can be paused if a trial cannot be held.

The provision’s language supports “an interpretation that the deadline is tolled when jury trials cannot be held, even if that is not the fault of the defendant,” Justice Catherine Connors wrote.

At least one other state concluded it was legal to pause the trial schedule, and other courts have reached the same conclusion through pandemic orders that provided for delays, Connors wrote.

Reeves, who is serving a 48-year sentence, was supposed to stand trial in May 2020, but the trial was delayed. He was convicted several months later on Oct. 5, 2020, in the state’s first homicide trial held before a jury since court proceedings were curtailed by the pandemic.

Before his trial, Reeves, who is Black, objected to wearing a mask and claimed it would be prejudicial. The judge ultimately ordered everyone in the courtroom to wear masks over the objection of his attorney, who said the mask could subject Reeves to racial profiling and stereotyping.

Prosecutors contended Reeves was in Maine selling drugs when he killed Sally Shaw, 55, of New Gloucester, in July 2017.

Her body was found by a passing motorist in Cherryfield. Reeves maintained he was not present when Shaw was killed.

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