#TheodoreWafer: Day 2 of Jury Selection in Porch-Shooting Case

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Good morning:

Total potential jurors excused yesterday for cause:

By the court: 21

Challenged by the prosecution: 2

Challenged by the defense: 3

Here we go again following on twitter, since there is no live coverage.

33 Responses to #TheodoreWafer: Day 2 of Jury Selection in Porch-Shooting Case

  1. I am shocked by how fast they selected the jury.

    Not sure what to think since I was not there.

    Given how quickly it went, I doubt the lawyers had sufficient information to intelligently exercise their peremptory challenges.

    • Malisha says:

      Except for the “intelligence” that caused the defense to use peremptories against Blacks.

      “Would you feel disloyal to your race if you gave some white guy a carte blanche to kill unarmed African Americans?”

      “Would you feel disloyal to the human race if you acquitted another lying racist murderer?”

    • groans says:

      Amazing how fast things can go if you can keep a lid on long-winded lawyers who are more interested in tainting a jury in their direction than in selecting a fair, unbiased jury (hmmm, let’s see … MOM and, even more so, Don West come to mind as examples of voir dire gone far astray from its legitimate track).

      Maybe this judge has some sense and a decent rationale for her approach to the voir dire, after all. (Hope springs eternal, as they say!)

      • I agree that most lawyers preach and play word games, which is patronizing and ineffective.

        I asked jurors to explain the basis for their opinions. By letting them do the talking I was able to quickly decide if I wanted them on or off the jury.

        I’ve never known a judge who was any good at voir dire and this judge does not appear to be an exception to that rule.

        For example, yesterday she asked black jurors if they would feel disloyalty to their race if they deliver not guilty verdict, but she did not ask white jurors if they would feel disloyal to their race if they found Wafer guilty.

        She insulted the black jurors and might as well have hung a sign around her neck saying she was a racist.

        Plus, it’s a stupid question.

        • groans says:

          Open-ended questions do actually elicit information, for sure!

          And that one-sided “disloyalty to your race” questioning is just plain absurd – as well as racist, as you point out. I know judges have always seemed pretty clueless and “random,” but we really seem to be reaching new lows in terms of quality every day – at all levels of our judiciary!

          Hopefully the surviving black jurors will remember that insult (hard to forget it, I imagine), and interpret the judge’s rulings accordingly throughout the trial.

          I must say, though, that I hold little hope for any major criminal conviction in this case. Unless the prosecution somehow becomes super-sharp, super-effective, and genuinely outraged, I think it will be easy for the jury to be easy on the defendant due to well-entrenched “protecting one’s castle” (especially in the middle of the night) concepts. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Dave says:

      I’ve never sat on a jury in a murder case but I have been on two juries in felony cases–Felonious Assault and Felony Firearm in Detroit Recorders Court and Carjacking, Armed Robbery and Felony Firearm in Wayne County Circuit Court. Voir dire only took an hour or two in each case once questioning started. Voir dire in other cases for which I was called in but not seated moved along similarly quickly.

      • Took 3 weeks for each death penalty case I tried and about 5-7 days for the routine homicide cases with extensive pretrial publicity. Anytime you do individual voir dire, which you have to do when there was extensive pretrial publicity, it typically doubles the time to get a jury.

  2. Opening statements tomorrow at 10 9 am EDT.

  3. Wild About Trial ‏@WildAboutTrial 42m
    #TheodoreWafer (MI) Jury Seated: 2Blk Women-2Blk Men-1Arab Man-2Min. Women-3Wht Women-4Wht Men-Jury instructed to be back tomorrow 10AM ET

  4. Cathy ‏@courtchatter 1h
    We have a jury in #TheodoreWafer! 7 men and 7 women.

  5. Cathy ‏@courtchatter 1h
    #TheodoreWafer 7 of the defense’s peremptory challenges have been African Americans.

  6. MKX says:

    An all white jury would be an egregious miscarriage of justice because it would not remotely represent the demographics of Wayne County:

    The 2010 United States Census[10] indicates Wayne County had a 2010 population of 1,820,584. This is a decrease of 240,578 people from the 2000 United States Census. Overall, the county had a -11.7% growth rate during this ten-year period. In 2010 there were 702,749 households and 450,651 families in the county. The population density was 2,974.4 per square mile (1,148.4 square kilometers). There were 821,693 housing units at an average density of 1,342.5 per square mile (518.3 square kilometers). 52.3% were White, 40.5% Black or African American, 2.5% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 0.8% of some other race and 2.4% of two or more races. 5.2% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 7.5% were of German, 6.8% Polish and 5.2% Irish ancestry.[11]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_County,_Michigan

    After the Malice Green trial, the “good people” were outraged at the verdict, and have taken measures to keep those “race loyal” jurors out of the process.

    IOW, a very large segment of the white population in Southeastern Lower Michigan really believes that they are “post racial” and objective about justice. In their eyes, it is “those people” or “Detroiters” who have the problem.

    My personal view is that there is a high degree of polarization in Metro Detroit that leads any trial involving a black and white person to become “us” vs. “them”.

    So, absent moving the trial to another state, both white and black jurors should be assumed to harbor biases based on color and, as such, the jury should, at least, reflect the demographics of the community at large,

    If that judge is not asking white jurors if they are “race loyal”, as has been done to potential black jurors, then this trial reeks of bias.

  7. Legitimate question: Did the judge and the lawyers decide against live streaming coverage of voir dire so that they could assure an all white jury?

  8. Prosecution has objected to the defense use of 5 peremptory challenges to dismiss black jurors.

    This is called a Batson challenge based on Batson v. Kentucky.

    In Batson the SCOTUS prohibited the systematic use of peremptory challenges to exclude African-Americans from serving on juries.

    Historically, lawyers did not have to provide a reason for exercising a peremptory challenge. The SCOTUS changed the rule in Batson to prevent prosecutors from using their peremptory challenges to exclude black jurors from sitting on juries with black defendants.

    The SCOTUS has since extended the rule to prevent the use of peremptory challenges to exclude potential jurors on the basis of gender or religion.

    Lawyers can still use their peremptories to excuse potential jurors who belong to one or more of those 3 groups as long as they have an independent reason (i.e., not based om race, gender or religious belief).

    However, the objection must be raised when the peremptory challenge is asserted (i.e., before the judge excuses the juror)

    Asserting the objection after 5 black jurors have been excused is untimely.

    The prosecution appears to have been asleep at the wheel and now looks to be incompetent.

    • Malisha says:

      Hell yeah! Why don’t they just go get those six jurors from the Fogen case and send them to Detroit to acquit Wafer? In case Michigan uses 12 jurors we can just throw 6 55-year-old white guys in to agree with them.

    • Malisha says:

      Oh no, an incompetent prosecution when a white man chooses to kill an unarmed African American? My My what could be causing such a thing? Are the competent prosecutors all busy putting African Americans behind bars for smoking a joint or forgetting to say “Yassuh”? Or selling single cigarettes for 50 cents?

    • bettykath says:

      Could be another case of prosecution b/c of the publicity and the prosecutors don’t want to put any effort into it.

    • groans says:

      In other words: Peremptories aren’t really peremptories any more?

      (I recall O’Mara using that peremptory dismissal challenge strategy timely and effectively against the so-called prosecutors “back in the day.”)

      • No reason must be given to support or explain a peremptory unless the peremptory appears to be based on race, gender or religion.

        Yes, MOM timely and effectively objected and appeared to confuse the prosecution or at least throw them off stride.

  9. Another juror asks to be excused because she has formed an opinion about the case. Judge excuses her.

  10. Two new jurors are brought in to replace the two who were excused. One has been mugged a couple of times at gunpoint and the other was robbed.

  11. The juror with the misdemeanor conviction asks to be excused because he has plans to go out of town to a wedding.

    Request granted.

  12. Two potential jurors were brought into the courtroom and questioned by the judge.

    One has a prior misdemeanor conviction and the other one is familiar with the case, has formed an opinion about Wafer’s guilt or innocence, and she does not believe she can be fair and impartial.

    Judge excuses her, which makes sense.

  13. bettykath says:

    Thanks for providing the updates.

  14. Apparently, they are slow getting started this morning. Jury selection delayed to 10 am EDT.

  15. Nicole ‏@LadyJustice2188 19m
    Day 2 of jury selection for #TheodoreWafer begins at 9:00. No live stream until after the jury has been picked. #RenishaMcBride

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