5 more potential jurors released in theater shooting case

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

100 jurors dismissed in Day 3 of Aurora theater shooting trial.

Jan. 20, 2015: In this sketch by courtroom artist Jeff Kandyba, Judge Carlos Samour, center top, is depicted as he faces members of the defense and prosecution teams in court on the first day of jury selection in the trial of Aurora theater shooting defendant James Holmes, at the Arapahoe County Justice Center, in Centennial, Colo. (AP) Even with a pool of 9,000 people, jury selection in the trial of James Holmes illustrates the challenges in finding people available to decide such an important case – and one that is expected to last many months. However, in a sign of how difficult it might be to get excused, a summons for a woman who reported being “violently ill” and requested an ambulance was only delayed. It wasn’t clear what reasons the two sides gave for releasing the 88 on Thursday, and it appears doubtful the two sides will say publicly why they are releasing some jurors. Most of those dismissed came from the groups of jurors who filled out questionnaires on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, when a combined 266 jurors showed up for duty.

That means dozens of jurors from those two groups will be called back for the second phase of individual questioning, which will begin in mid-February and will plod along at the pace of 18 jurors per day. “Otherwise,” Samour told the lawyers Thursday, “we’re going to end up having individual questioning sessions with folks we all know from the get-go are not going to end up on this jury.” Though he said Thursday he thinks more jurors should probably be dismissed based on their questionnaires, Samour has previously said he will dismiss jurors at this initial stage only if both sides agree. Several were let go because they are directly connected to the case or know someone who is, not surprising in a county of 600,000 people, most of whom live in the city of Aurora where the shooting took place. On Wednesday, one potential juror was excused because his doctor’s note said he had a condition that makes it hard for him to sit for long periods of time.

Court officials initially summoned 9,000 prospective jurors, but that figure fell to about 7,000 after some summonses could not be delivered and some people were excused. Yet by Thursday, when another person asked to be excused after claiming their English was not good enough, defense attorney Daniel King suggested, “We really need to start talking to these people” rather than dismissing them out of hand. In each case, the prospective juror had brought along their child to translate for them. ‘ Others have said they don’t speak English well, but if they speak any English the judge has opted to tell them to try their best rather than dismiss them. Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler told the judge he was reluctant to give the reasons while the media was listening for fear of providing “a road map” for anyone wanting to get out of jury service.

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