Putting personal feelings aside

Questioning during the voir dire, the process used by the court to try to eliminate those who have biases that could affect their judgment, focused first on these 34, along with other potential jurors drawn from behind bars to replace them when they were made redundant.

Schroeder told the jury that while he realized the case was high profile, much of that pre-trial publicity was biased. “Those of us who are chosen for this jury will have a front row seat to learn what happened,” said the judge.

He asked would-be jurors if they could put aside their thoughts on what they had already heard about the case to focus on the evidence presented at trial. “If you can’t do that, you can’t be fair and you’re not in tune with what the founders expected,” he said.

During the morning session, many would-be jurors said they couldn’t.

“I can’t put my feelings aside, I know what I’m thinking,” one woman said.

“Well, you know what you’re thinking, but we’re talking about hearing the real evidence,” Schroeder replied. “So if you heard someone testify directly to the contrary – let’s say you heard four witnesses testify directly contrary to what you think – you couldn’t put that aside?” “