The jury selection process can be lengthy (especially w/60 people), but also because the judge and lawyers want to be able to provide the most impartial jury possible.
Some of the obstacles in this case?
1. It was highly publicized.
2. It pulls at the heart-strings.
For instance, one woman was a longtime educator and grandmother, she said she couldn't do it. She already felt like she was leaning a certain way (toward Morgan's guilt). She was dismissed.
So, court started at 9:45 this morning. Soon thereafter (about 20-minutes) the jury was brought in, the questions began in a group setting, that is until about 11, when there was a break and the judge took folks who had personal things to say (i.e. prior run ins with the law, etc) to another courtroom. That lasted until about 1:15, in the meantime, the potential jurors waited in the initial courtroom to be called. (Yes, a little fact about court, when things are moving, they move! When it stops, it's similar to sitting in traffic (SIGH!)) Usually this is when the procedural question come up. The judge must stop the flow to address the issue, get it on "the record" and then move forward.
After nearly 2.5 hrs, the jury was selected, 7-men, 7-women. The judge gives the jury (and journalists, for that matter) an hour lunchbreak.
(****BREAK FOR LUNCH****)
Ahhhhh, that was good- back to court! The jurors/everybody was due back at 2:45. The case is back in session at three. Jurors return. The judge gives them the lay of the land with instructions - some new, since the last time I covered a case in Roanoke City- he instructs the jurors, telling them to stay away from twitter and facebook (what!?!? no social media??) They're not even allowed to post they're on a jury!
Opening statements from both the prosecution and defense last from 3 -4:35.
Court resumes tomorrow at 9:30a.
Alas, for photojournalist Rob Chewning and myself, the day is not done! We have to put together stories for the 5 & 6. I have the 5 already written, we just have to put pictures with the words. I front it live at 5, then prepare for a longer version at 6 - trying to recap an all day affair into a 1:30 report, while giving everybody their due! (fingers crossed! toes too!)
WHEW!!! ACCOMPLISHED! Now, to prepare for tomorrow! :)
Happy Monday! Hope everybody got a chance to enjoy this GORGEOUS day (and weekend too for that matter!)
I made a little list of things I wanted to talk about, so let's get to it!
A father claims his autistic son was abused and beaten on a school bus, and says he has proof.
Last week, video was released from inside the bus. It has the child, and what appears to be a bus aide and the bus driver striking the child. This is part of an ongoing case, but bottom-line, the video is hard to watch. In documents released from the school system, there's a paper trail from a case worker who goes back and forth with the school system on behalf of a parent. What would have happened had that camera not been on the bus? What would have happened if that parent had not continued to lobby for his child? Long-short, trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right or seem right, then don't let it go. That's what happened in this case. A dad felt something was wrong and wouldn't let it go.
In other news, people have been talking about Bank of America. The bank says it will start charging a $5 a month fee for customers to use their debt cards. While this isn't set to start until the beginning of next year, it already has people squawking! Ok, full-disclosure, I'm a Bank of America customer. The bank makes A LOT of money off me. I have 4-accounts with them. BUT, I also burn my debit card up!!! I use my debit card so much that I would definitely get my 5-dollars worth from it. BUT, as mentioned those four-accounts make them a far amount of money. I'm really wishy-washy on this one. It seems that in this time when everyone wants you to pay a little more, this is the norm- no biggie. On the otherside of the coin, didn't these same institutions just get a MAJOR bailout from our country??? Netflix folded after the community started to raise a fuss. I'm wondering if nationwide outrage will have the bank rethinking its decision? I'll keep you updated.
And- last, but not least, News7 has some special visitors this week. Journalists from the country of Georgia are visiting. It's part of an exchange program. Our very own Joe Dashiell visited earlier this year and now he's helping to play host. Today, the group played a video from their country. Once a part of communist Russia, Georgia and the station are independent, but it not always smooth sailing. Government officials are still learning about transparency and accountability. The station has been threatened -power turned off, government types demanding that stories be pulled. The whole thing really made me realize how very lucky we are. We take for granted our FREEDOMS. The freedom of speech, to report and make leaders answer for their actions, and generally, just how good we have it. So, here's to the USA. It's not always a perfect system, but hey, it could always be worse.
Anywho, take care!!!
til next time - sjb
It has been so long since I've written and frankly, I just needed a break.
Everytime I went to write something down, it just seemed so negative.
You know the old saying, if you don't have something nice to say (or in this case write) then don't say anything at all.
Well, after months of inactivity, I'm back.
Nothing especially pointed to say, but hey, that's never stopped me before, has it? :)
I'm having some new areas that I cover.
While I pretty much cover anything and everything (I am, after all, a General Assignment Reporter) I also cover Botetourt County, Craig County, Vinton, Salem and now Arts & Entertainment. The localities aren't new, but the A&E beat is..
So, I'm asking for your help.
If something's going on in your hometown, let me know! (even if it's not in the list above, I can get it to the right person!)
I hope your summer left you rested & happy, and as we move into fall, ready to buckle down.