Wednesday
Aug192009

Dunbar Village trial: Day 2 jury selection progressing

C.B. Hanif reporting for WAOD:
(From Courtroom 11H of the Palm Beach County Courthouse.)
It’s a soggy day in the neighborhood as intermittent downpours have barreled thorough, remnants of whatever Anna was/is (tropical storm, depression?).
The locals are happy that we’re not experiencing 135-mph hurricane Bill, which last I heard is heading north in the Atlantic. Like Anna, Bill was heading this way last weekend, and could have affected these proceedings.
As I mentioned on our Twitter feed (please note: we have moved it from my cbhanif account to GEMPIRENews), three family members of defendant Nathan Walker were in the courtroom when I arrived right at 9am. I have asked to speak with them. We’ll see.
Judge Krista Marx explained to the 60 potential jurors brought into the courtroom that this is a case in which two individuals will be tried together but will have a separate jury.
“You will be the judge of the facts in this case,” said the judge. “You alone will determine whether or not the defendant is innocent of guilty.”
Among other cautions, potential jurors were reminded that they are expect to “put aside all your personal experiences and biases and…base your decision only on what you hear in the courtroom.”
The judge said she expect it will take the entire day to select those of you who will be privileged to serve on this case, which she said she expects to take two weeks. “It will not be an easy case to sit on.”
In the rounds of jury weeding, I counted six folks excused by the judge to return to the jury room to possibly be selected for a different panel. Then four more.
Asked about religious convictions that might be an impediment to service on the jury, an African-American woman, told the judge: I’m a religious person. I feel I would crash” — if I heard her last word correctly.
Said another juror, white male: “I don’t feel it is my place to place judgment on someone else.” Judge: And if chosen would you be able etc. He: “I would find it very difficult” Judge: And that’s because of your religious conviction?” He: “Yes.”
Not unexpectedly, they were among the seven additional jurors excused prior to the first break.
Outside the window, directly behind my perch on the back bench of Courtroom 11H is the green dome of West Palm Beach’s new City Hall. Outside the window, directly behind my perch on the back bench of Courtroom 11H is the green dome of West Palm Beach’s new City Hall. C.B. Hanif reporting for WAOD: (From Courtroom 11H of the Palm Beach County Courthouse.) It’s a soggy day in the neighborhood after intermittent downpours barreled through in the early morning, remnants of whatever Anna was/is (tropical storm, depression?). The locals are happy that we’re not experiencing 135-mph hurricane Bill, which last I heard is heading north in the Atlantic. Like Anna, Bill was heading this way last weekend, and could have affected these proceedings. As I mentioned on our Twitter feed (please note: we have moved it from my cbhanif account to GEMPIRENews), three family members of defendant Nathan Walker were in the courtroom when I arrived right at 9 a.m. I have asked to speak with them. We’ll see. Judge Krista Marx explained to the 60 potential jurors brought into the courtroom that this is a case in which two individuals will be tried together but will have separate juries. “You will be the judge of the facts in this case,” said the judge. “You alone will determine whether or not the defendant is innocent or guilty.” Among other cautions, potential jurors were reminded that they are expected "to put aside all your personal experiences and biases and…base your decision only on what you hear in the courtroom.” The judge said she expects it will take the entire day to select the jury to serve on this case, which she expects to take two weeks. “It will not be an easy case to sit on.” In the early rounds of jury weeding, I counted six folks the judge excused to return downstairs to the jury room to possibly be selected for a different panel. Then four more. Asked about religious convictions that might be an impediment to service on the jury, an African-American woman, told the judge: I’m a religious person. I feel I would crash” — if I heard her last word correctly. Said another juror, a white male: “I don’t feel it is my place to place judgment on someone else.” Judge: And if chosen would you be able etc. He: “I would find it very difficult.” Judge: "And that’s because of your religious conviction?” He: “Yes.” Not unexpectedly, they were among the seven additional jurors excused prior to the first break.

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Tuesday
Aug182009

First Dunbar Village jury selected, second selection tomorrow

Judge Marx's instructions Judge Marx's instructions C.B. Hanif reporting for WAOD: It would seem that Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Krista Marx accomplished her Day 1 objective: Six jurors and two alternates have been selected in Tommy Poindexter's case. They were told to check in on Thursday but be prepared to start his trial at 9 a.m. Friday. "We will go into opening statements and the trial will begin at that time," the judge said. She also reminded jurors that the courtoom will be operating with two juries. Selection of the second, for Nathan Walker, is set to begin 9 a.m. Wednesday. The chosen jurors were cautioned in the meantime: No newspapers, no TV news, no Facebook, no Twitter, no outside influences. "The jury verdict has to be based on just what you hear in the courtoom," Judge Marx said. "I cannot stress this enough to you. Because if there is a mistrial we have to start all over again." After two years, some visible movement toward justice.

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