EXPLAINER: How jury selection works in Arbery slaying trial – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia 2021-10-21 07:26:36 –

Thea Brooks stands in front of a mural of his nephew Amado Arbury, who was murdered in Brunswick, Georgia, on October 5, 2021. Brooks, who calls the murder a “modern lynch,” joins other families as the court proceedings begin. For three white men charged with murder in the February 2020 murder of a 25-year-old black man. The jury selection in this case is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 18th. (AP Photo / Las Bynum)

Brunswick, Georgia (AP) — Teachers, auto mechanics, and retirees summoned to a jury mission for the killing of Amado Aubrey think about racism, social media habits, and whether they own guns. I have been asked about.

Finding a fair jury in this coastal area of ​​85,000 is not easy. A 25-year-old black man was chased by three white men and was shot deadly on February 23, 2020 while running in the neighborhood.his Death stunned people Killing graphics nationwide after a mobile phone video was leaked online two months later. Shooting dominated local news, social media feeds, and workplace chatter.

When the court postponed Wednesday, the third day of jury selection at Glynn County Hall, a total of 15 jury candidates were considered eligible to advance to the group in which the final jury was elected. .. Dozens more will be needed before the murder trial of defendants Greg, Travis McMichael and William “Rodi” Brian begins.

How do people become juries?

Judge selection It’s essentially an exclusion process. In Georgia, a court clerk uses a licensed driver’s license and a list of registered voters to randomly send notices about jury obligations. In this case, the notice was mailed to 1,000 people. Ultimately, the court only needs 16 people. There are 12 main juries, and four will be replaced in case the jury becomes ill or dismissed before the trial is over.

Infants over 70 years old or full-time caregivers of full-time students may be automatically exempt. Judges can dismiss others because of difficulties such as illness or disability, the need to take care of sick relatives, or to run a business that lacks workers.

Attorneys may also persuade the judge to dismiss Pool Members, who indicate that the answers to the questions have formed an opinion on a case that may prevent them from making a fair verdict.

How does the process work in this case?

Potential juries are questioned in three stages. The jury duty notice included a three-page questionnaire to fill out before coming to court. People were asked what they already knew about the incident, which news source or social media platform they were using, and whether they watched a video of the shooting cell phone.

The first 600 jury candidates will be summoned to court in groups of 20 and the rest will be placed on the deck for next week as needed. The prosecutor and the defense lawyer first asked them in a group and asked “yes” or “no” questions such as whether they knew the three men in trial or had a negative impression already. Ask to reach out to answer.

The members of the jury pool are then brought to court one at a time to ask more detailed questions. How many times did they watch the video? Do they feel that racism was a motivational factor? The lawyer wants to know who modified his opinion on the case.

A man on Wednesday admitted that he wrote in his questionnaire: They killed him. He spoke to a lawyer and determined that he was referring to “all three.” They did it as a team. The judge fired the man after reporting that he had seen a lawyer thumbs up at Arbury’s father in a court gallery.

Will anyone be disqualified if they already know about the case?

No. As one jury candidate told a lawyer, almost everyone in Glynn County knows something about the killings.

A jury candidate may be eligible to become a jury if, despite having already read or heard, the court evidence is deemed to be fair. Judge Timothy Walmsley of the High Court was quite generous in that regard.

The two panelists, who said their father was a friend of either Greg McMichael or Brian, were allowed to stay in the jury pool. The other was considered eligible after actively investigating the case using Google and concluding that: That’s all I know. “

There is no doubt that Travis McMichael shot Arberry three times with a shotgun. The important question is whether shooting is equivalent to murder. Attorneys allege that the defendant legally pursued Arbury because he suspected Arbury was a criminal and the shooting was self-defense.

Why didn’t the case move due to pre-promotion?

Violent pretrial publicity about the murder of Arbury is likely to qualify the trial for another Georgia county. However, the defense lawyer said all three residents have been residents for many years and prefer to file a proceeding in Glynn County, which is not known solely for Arbury’s death.

If the defense lawyer does not like how the jury pool is formed, you can ask the judge to file a proceeding.

How does the court reach the final jury?

Before the final jury is seated, the attorneys take turns removing a significant number of jury candidates from the final pool for virtually any reason. There is one big exception. The US Supreme Court has ruled that reducing jury candidates is unconstitutional. Based on race only..

“You’re trying to get rid of those who think it’s the worst for your case, either because of their background or opinion,” said Page Pate, a defense lawyer who wasn’t involved in the case. ..

So far, the judge has granted 12 such compulsory objections or strikes to the prosecutor and a total of 24 lawyers. He will probably allow additional strikes to select four alternative juries.

Mathematically, this probably requires more than 60 qualified jury pool members for lawyers to go on strike and have enough left to form the final jury. Means to be.

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