Judge in Currie case wants to select jury from pool of 75
No candidates for the jury were present, the attorneys on both sides made their recommendations based on results from questionnaires. Lawyers were not given the names of the possible jurors, only a number for each, preventing them from using Google or social media like Facebook to research their background. (My colleague Tricia Bishop wrote about the practice of masking juror names in yesterday's Sun.)
Bennett revealed some tidbits about the likely direction of the case while overseeing the pre-screening process. The number of African-Americans on the jury could be an issue as Bennett took pains to tell lawyers that 16 members of their pool were black. He noted that was trying to accommodate a request by Joe Evens, Currie's attorney. Currie is African-American.
Bennett was also concerned about anyone with any connection to the state legislature, axing a candidate who revealed in a questionnaire that he'd once delivered the opening prayer to one chamber of the General Assembly. "I tend to think he's a little too close to the flame," Bennett said.
And medical excuses of all types were accommodated including one candidate who needs to deliver a shot to a diabetic patient by 6 p.m. each evening. "We are not going to sit past 5 p.m.," Bennett said. But he noted "over the course of time things happen" and did not want to be responsible for missed medication.
Defense attorney Joe Evans revealed that the patient is a dog.
"Certainly I'm concerned about the dog and don't want the record to reflect otherwise," Bennett said, excluding the possible juror.
During jury selection next week, the government will be able to strike six candidates. The defense has 15 strikes. Each side can also strike two alternates.