Arbery Trial: Defense expressing concern of long jury selection process

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 4:34 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 4:54 PM EDT
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GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - In the seventh day of jury selection in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial, a little less than half the potential jury pool is full.

Attorneys want to fill 64 potential juror slots total before choosing the final jury. Right now 36 of those slots are full.

As of right now, it’s a pretty even split between men and women, 19 qualified jurors are women and 17 are men.

Of those that we were able to get specific racial info on, it appears at least 22 qualified potential jurors are white and 10 are black. Groups of jurors have been qualified on five of the days so far. Only four potential jurors were qualified Tuesday.

This slow pace is a concern defense attorneys brought up in the courtroom Wednesday. One said he believes word is spreading around the community about how long it’s taking and people are trying to avoid getting picked.

“Far be it for me, because I’m not in your shoes, to judge on all the competing factors. But I’m just going to suggest for what it’s worth, that we’re going to have a revolt from the jury pool if we don’t find a way to deal with them more expeditiously. And that’s all I have to say,” said Kevin Gough, William “Roddie” Bryan’s attorney.

Judge Walmsley said he apologized if those summoned feel the jury selection process is taking too much of their time.

He added the hope is they see the bigger picture and respect the process.

During some discussion inside the courtroom, an attorney for Travis McMichael asked the judge how the defense teams can make sure what they say and what direction they get from the Court is on the record, so if they lose the case, the defense can appeal.

“I understand that there are pressures upon counsel, and I respect that. But my position is if, in the circumstances that we’ve had, not every circumstance, because quite honestly most of the time we’ve been able to move through a lot of these, if an objection is made, I believe the state and the defense for that matter have stated the rule that they’re applying, relevance, pre-judging or whatever it is, and then the court rules on that,” said Judge Timothy Walmsley.

Wednesday ended with 42 potential jurors qualifying. Jury selection continues at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

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