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Libby Liveblog: Peremptory Challenges


Btw, I should explain the tedious reuse of the empty jury box. I was kind of intending to use the same image for all of these posts, so they were easy to find. Though I'm kind bored of this, what about you guys? I've got some "Justice" images for tomorrow and thereafter. Will look for some more.  

Okay, we're back. All the potential jurors are sitting the courtroom, organized according to some byzantine rule of precedence. The lawyers are conferring with some woman (wither her back to us) over some piece of paper. Wells just grabbed her cheerily.

Walton is in. Asks the jurors if they've had any contact with the media. Two hands raised. We're having a discussion, now, about what to do (and there's some disagreement whether we're at 37 or 36 potential jurors; if it's the former, then we can lose one without going back into the jury pool). 

We just lost one, apparently a Charter school teacher.

"Anybody else need to talk to me?" Walton asks. No one raises their hand.

We can proceed now, Walton says says. 

Another sidebar. 

I think they're finalizing their lists so Walton can start making them play musical chairs. (They're going to move the jurors around as people are axed, so they don't know who was struck by which side.)

Still lots of milling about.

Another sidebar. I think they had to redo everything given that that one woman was excused.

The Moment of Truth(s)!!

I only said that because I was bored. We've moved one person out. And four people into spots in the jury box. (Pach is working on who these people are).

One of the guys is a 60s white male. Said about Iraq, we can't stay, we can't go. Sometimes questions credibility of the Bush Administration. But will keep an open mind. Partner is a public defender.

Another is thirties white female.

One is a retired hotel manager.

Another is a guy who only reads the bible. 

Late thirties, white female, very giggly, is in.

Lockheed woman, going after billion dollars of business, is still in. 

A woman whose son was sent to prison by Judge Walton is in.  

Some of the people who have been stricken is an intell guy who does software simulations, the MoveOn guy, a lawyer who knew Woodward, an Israeli MIT PhD, a GW grad student.

This is all very much like the NFL draft. They make an announcement (they're doing three strikes at once, all based on who moves where in the courtroom). And then everyone in the  media room twitters about to figure out who is on what team (or rather, whether someone has been ousted or brought into the box). 

Christy is whining. I want copies of everything handed to me" she says. Doesn't want to have to work for it, I guess. Lawyers, once a lawyer, always a lawyer, I guess.  (CHS says:  Yes, where are my briefcase toting minions?  Am too used to the luxury lifestyle of a prosecutor.  HA!)

Another guy who was in and is now out is a Fannie Mae investigator.

World Bank woman who only does diapers is out. (She's the one who says she doesn't consider anyone is a liar.)

There's an art critic who likes to speak in the impersonal third person ("One must be" she always says, apparently) is in for now.  

There's a male webmaster is still in.

There's an opera singer still in.

The woman who has had enough of journalists is out. 

Today's legal secretary is in, for now.

Also, understand, we didn't know who started in the jury box. They're moving people in and out of the box, so it's pretty hard to figure out who is where.

Can I just interrupt and say how much I appreciate the folks who are going to serve on their jury? Because their life is about to be turned upside down for the next bunch of weeks, what with having to report to an undisclosed location each day to be picked up to be brought to the courtroom. And imagine, going for 6 weeks without reading ANY blogs!?!?!?! 

A bit of a pause here, as the teams figure out their next priorities. Not many jurists left. One person just pulled out of the jury box. It really is totally nuts, as jurors come and go!

Childcare provider is in.

We've got a jury!!!! More details on who is in it later.

Walton is dismissing the rest.

Trial starts tomorrow. Will do instructions tonight. Says he'll do it again, not to insult their intelligence, but to make sure they comply with the way the trial will be run.

Telling jurors not to talk to anyone about this. 

"You can't start to decide anything about this case until everything has been presented to you." 

Talks about the difficulty of changing your opinion once formed.

"You CANNOT have any discussions whatsoever about this case." 

"You're not going to have that problem because you're not going out to lunch" Then assures them they will feed them. They get breakfast and lunch every day. Mmm. Free food.

Now he's telling a story about a guy who talked about the case to his "precocious high school daughter." She kept telling him (since she was studying the jury system) that he couldn't talk about the case. Dad said he paid the mortgage and he could do what he wanted. Daughter said, "who's the judge." So she called up Walton and ratted Dad out.

Says NO contact with the media about this case. You can't have any contact with the media. "I assume there will be a certain amount of media coverage about the case." [You think?!]

They will be providing screened newspapers to the jury. Don't listen to the radio. Don't watch the news. Says they can watch Judge Judy.

"While I believe the press tries to report things accurately sometimes they get it wrong." 

If you have any contact with the media about this case, you need to let me know about it.  

It's vitally important that you avoid everyone involved in this case. If people [from the case] weren't as friendly as maybe you think they should be, it's not because they're not friendly.

[Walton still] We've fixed a really nice [jury] room up for you with nice chairs, a refrigerator, a microwave. Now some discussion whether they'll get ham and eggs or not. Juice and fruit and coffee and tea and water and milk. We'll have that available at 9:00. 

Timeliness is next to godliness, Walton says.

Talks about how he doesn't want to throw away our tax money by waiting for jurors.

Is the temperature alright in here?

Now he's describing the hours they need to be there. Need you here by 9:30. I generally will sit for about an hour and 15 minutes, because court reporters work really hard, and therefore I have to give them a break every hour and a half a the most. Break for lunch at 12:30 for an hour. Start back at 1:30. Unless there is some emergency that would cause us to sit beyond 5:00, we'll break at 5:00 every day (makes the point that his staff is just paid until 5 and he doesn't want them to work for free.)

In reference to computer usage, I've asked you not to get on the internet. If you need to email people, that's fine.

"There might be something about the case on the Internet." [Not gonna happen.] 

At bottom, you have an obligation to make sure you can render a fair decision.

This is one of the most important things that as an American citizen that you do. 

Will start at 9:30. Will take less than an hour. Both Wells and Fitz are standing looking very humble. Fitz with his head to the side. Wells with his hand in the pockets.

Fitz will take an hour for his opening. And Wells is happy to break his opening statement in two, befor eand after lunch.

Done for the day!

Schedule for tomorrow:

9:30 – 10:30 Jury Instructions

10:30 to 11:30 Fitz' opening

12:00 to 1:00 Wells Part One

2:00 to 3:00 Wells Part Two 

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Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.