Trial Blog: Is it raining or did a toilet explode? - Montgomery Alabama news.

Trial Blog: Is it raining or did a toilet explode?

We're back! Jury selection for the Gambling Corruption Re-Trial started at 9:00 a.m. today - delayed a week due to the death of defendant Ray Crosby.

Just like last time, members of the media are downstairs in the bankruptcy courtroom for the duration of the trial. We can see the judge, the witness, and the speaking attorney on three flat-screen monitors spread around the room. Audio from the courtroom is piped in through overhead speakers.

Judge Myron Thompson is very protective of his jurors - he doesn't want the media to have any access to them during or after the trial. We can't actually see the jurors unless we go upstairs, and if we go upstairs, we can't take our computers or cell phones to report back.

The morning started with jurors stating their number (we are not allowed to know their names), their hometown, occupation, marital status and if applicable, their spouse's occupation. This is so the attorneys can get a basic demographic understanding of the current pool of jurors.

Several jurors in this pool were from Montgomery. Butler, Elmore Autauga, Bullock, Lowndes and Chilton Counties were also represented. Occupations included several housewives, state workers, truck drivers, retail salespeople, a registered nurse and even an attorney.

Jurors must qualify to Judge Thompson that they are between the ages of 18 and 70, are able to read and write, are in the country legally and that they have no physical or mental infirmity or other reason that would stop them from serving as a juror. Three jurors were sent home early because of the last caveat - one woman had a sick husband at home who needed care, another needed help with childcare and one juror indicated she was moving away in three weeks so she was sent home.

Attorneys then ran over their potential witness list to determine if any of the jurors had a relationship with or a bias towards someone who may be called to testify in the case. While the list is lengthy, familiar names included: Ronnie Gilley, Jarrod Massey, Jennifer Pouncey, Sen. Scott Beason, Judge Ben Lewis, Rep. Barry Mask, Rep. Terry Spicer, former Governor Bob Riley, Sen. Quinton Ross,, Bob Geddie, Bobby Bright, Jack Abramoff, boxer Floyd Mayweather, country singers Lorrie Morgan and Randy Owen, Paul Hubbert, Sen Roger Bedford, Beth Chapman, Twinkle Andress, Sen. Del Marsh, Sen. Jabbo Waggoner, Mike Hubbard, Dr. David Thrasher and a score of others.

The majority of the day was spent with attorneys asking potential jurors qualifying questions - do you have a credit card, laptop, bumper stickers on your car, any bias towards law enforcement ? For a much longer list, make sure to check out today's live blog (below).

Perhaps one of the more interesting approaches to a juror question today was the use of the raincoat analogy. Bobby Segall (attorney for Milton McGregor),Bill Clark (attorney for Sen. Larry Means), Jim Parkman (attorney for Sen. Harri Anne Smith), and Susan James (attorney for Jay Walker) all used this approach. Here's the analogy:

If a man comes in to the room you're in and he's soaking wet, wearing a rain coat and carrying an umbrella, does it mean it's raining outside?

Attorneys used this to determine if the jurors would consider all of the evidence, including circumstantial evidence and even the witness's own testimony. Segall asked, "How do you know a toilet in the building didn't explode on the man?" Susan James asked, "What if the man said a toilet exploded but really he was running late and he got stuck in the sprinklers outside?" All explanations were used to ask jurors if they could view the evidence at hand a make a ruling based on their own inferences.

Open questioning for the first pool concluded shortly before 2:30 p.m. Attorneys are now being allowed to question the jurors individually back in chambers. The length of this process will determine what time we start up again, be it later tonight or tomorrow, and if we start with a new pool of potential jurors or if attorneys will continue questioning this pool.

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