Greitens Trial Analysis: Selecting a Jury

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo — Day 3 of jury selection will continue today in St. Louis for the felony invasion of privacy trial of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. 

Springfield criminal defense attorney Adam Woody, with no connections to the case, joined KOLR10 News Daybreak to give some valuable insight.

Question: The court has spent the last 2 days (Thursday and Friday, May 10-11) working through a pool of 160 potential jurors for this case. As of Friday afternoon, only 49 of the 160 jurors had been screened and the court doesn’t plan on starting the trial until mid-week. Does this pace surprise you?

“In this case, you have to look at all the coverage throughout the past year and a half that the Governor has received. Since this charge has been filed, there has just been wall to wall coverage. As a result, most people have heard about this case, and some people have even heard about the facts in this case.

You don’t get that very often in criminal cases. Most of the time it is a blank slate where jurors haven’t heard about the defendant and never heard about the case.”

Question: This has been a nationally televised trial, and it’s dealing with a prominent political figure. When looking for an ‘impartial juror’, what does that mean, considering the coverage and political implications?

“I’ve thought from day 1 of this case that it will be exceedingly difficult to get a jury seated for this trial. The pace of this selection process is showing that it has been difficult to find individuals that are unbiased.

When you look at bias for jury selection, you are really trying to ask the right questions to get people’s implicit biases. Everyone has these when answering these questions, so it’s difficult to always get the answers that you’re wanting.

Each side, the prosecution and the defense, has 6 peremptory strikes. This means that they can strike people for no reason at all, but each side also has unlimited for-cause strikes. 

This means that if someone is biased, or someone appears that they cannot be fair and impartial, they are automatically struck from the jury pool.

In a case like this, it will be difficult to find a completely fair and impartial jury.”

Question: The charge on the table is an Invasion of Privacy. The defense in this case has claimed that they have gone through over 16,000 pictures and videos stored on Governor Eric Greitens’ phone and did not find a picture. The prosecution claims that he deleted it. 

How difficult will it be for both sides, considering there is no ‘smoking gun’?

“It is going to be difficult, frankly, for the State to prove this completely circumstantial case.

My understanding is that the only evidence they have is that the victim claims she saw a flash and heard the click of a camera.

That’s about as circumstantial as it gets because they have to prove that this photo was taken. Not only that, but to upgrade that to a felony, need to prove that it was made accessible via computer. Their theory, I believe, is that by saving it to his cell phone acts as the transmission.

Again, that’s completely circumstantial.”

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