Jury selection in the trial of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery is starting this morning. Speculation is that the process may take as much as three weeks. Over 1,000 people have been called for jury duty which is a much larger pool than is usual in most cases, even in high profile cases like this one. Attorneys have said that they have never heard of a case where this many potential jurors have been called. There is speculation that many of the people called will not show up – for legitimate reasons and because they don’t want to take part.
The potential jurors have been asked to fill out a questionnaire. It is not a long questionnaire especially not in comparison with other trials of this prominence. Some of the questions are: Have you seen the video of the shooting in Satilla Shores? How many times have you seen the video. Have you been to the neighborhood? Potential jurors will then be asked questions in the courtroom. Commentators are creating the impression that
Social media posting will be searched for the potential jurors. Strict rules about how they can access that information. They cannot sneak onto their social media, but it is generally accepted now that the lawyers are responsible for searching any information that is public. There will be people who have posted about this case, about the issues related to this case. A lawyer is saying that she was not going to convict another black man. She said that she was going to court and would not convict.
No matter how many times people are told, and how many times they see other defendants’ videos of jailhouse conversations (Casey Anthony), they assume privacy when they post on the internet and talk on the telephone. It is also difficult for people even if they know they are being taped, to remember this once they get into a conversation.
One of the issues that was raised in this case was the use of the jailhouse phone conversations of the defendants. As I previously posted, there are notifications literally beside the phones in jails and prisons informing people that their conversations will be recorded, but people still make those phone calls and conduct those conversations like it was 1950. The judge in this case, for that reason, turned down a defense motion to exclude all the jailhouse conversations of the defendants. They argued 14th amendment, they even argued for Gregory McMichaels, spousal confidentiality. But, the judge ruled, once you are informed that you are being recorded and you pick up that phone you make a decision to give up all those rights.
The host of Court TV today is again repeating the William “Roddie” Bryan. I have no idea why this middle name is repeated by almost every commentator on television and every print journalist.
Court TV is doing live coverage of the trial. There are also several interesting interviews with attorneys in the case posted on the site.
Notes: 600 of the called 1,000 potential jurors showed up on Monday 18 October 2021. The court interviewed 8 of them in individual voir dire. One juror was dismissed after stating that he had negative views of Gregory McMichael but evidently not Travis McMichael. The potential juror said that Gregory McMichael appeared to be the “lead dog.”