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Impartial Juries In A Media-Soaked Age46:51
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The Marathon bombing, the Aurora movie theater shootings, and the challenges of picking an impartial jury.

People enter the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colo., Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. The jury selection process in the trial of Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes began Tuesday, and is expected to take several weeks to a few months. Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding more than 50 in an Aurora movie theater in 2012 (AP)
People enter the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colo., Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. The jury selection process in the trial of Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes began Tuesday, and is expected to take several weeks to a few months. Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding more than 50 in an Aurora movie theater in 2012 (AP)

Two huge jury challenges afoot right now.  One in Colorado.  One in Boston. The Marathon bombing. The Aurora theater shootings.  Nine thousand possible jurors summoned in Colorado to get a jury of 12.  In Boston, a new delay because it’s rough going finding impartial jurors. The defense is clamoring for a change of venue.  In our day and age of media saturation, how do you find a juror who hasn’t been soaked in news on a high-profile crime?  And what should we think of a juror who hasn’t heard a word?  This hour On Point:  the jury system in the hyper-media age.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Brandon Johansson, court reporter for the Aurora Sentinel. (@sentinelbrandon)

David Boeri, senior reporter at WBUR. (@davidboeri)

Valerie Hans, professor at Cornell University's Law School. Author of "American Juries: The Verdict." (@jurygirltweet)

David Lane, criminal defense and civil rights lawyer.

From Tom’s Reading List

Aurora Sentinel: Updates from jury selection in Aurora theater shooting — "After reviewing the first batch of 135 juror questionnaires, prosecutors and lawyers for James Holmes agreed to dismiss 48 potential jurors in the Aurora theater shooting case. Those jurors, plus five others released Thursday morning, bring the total of released jurors to 74. It wasn’t clear what reasons the two sides gave for releasing the 48."

WBUR: Several Potential Jurors Appear To Pass Round In Boston Bombing Panel Selection — "As jury selection proceeds in the terrorism trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 52 potential jurors have appeared in court to answer questions about whether they could fairly consider the evidence."

Pacific Standard: In Search Of An Impartial Jury -- "Tsarnaev’s jury selection process began last week, and the selection process for Holmes starts today in Colorado. The long, sometimes painful procedure should last months as the court whittles down the pool of 9,000 potential jurors to 12 people, who must then decide if Holmes is sane and deserving of the death penalty. In the Colorado case,implicit biases about mental illness could have more of an effect on the trial than media coverage of the shooting—proving, once again, how hard it is for a jury to get out of its own head."

This program aired on January 23, 2015.

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