BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The judge presiding over the trial for the three men accused of chasing and murdering Ahmaud Arbery wishes the jury selection process would move a lot quicker.
Nearly two weeks into jury selection, 42 potential jurors have qualified to move to the next pool so far, but the goal is to reach 64 by the end of the week.
Judge Timothy Walmsley said, in his opinion, some of the questions from jurors are coming off aggressive and uncomfortable. He thinks examinations could be shorter but understands the process. There was also a brief discussion Thursday on if jurors would be kept anonymous during the trial.
Once 64 potential jurors are selected, they’ll be questioned even deeper for the trial of the three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery.
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Attorney Gene Nichols, who’s not involved with the case, said in many high-profile cases, the jurors are anonymous once the trial begins.
“So when one of the parties brings it to the attention of the court that they believe it’s having the jurors anonymous, that’s typically when you see it sometimes mid-trial. It depends upon the publicity, this is the perfect case of a lot going on outside the courtroom, a lot going on outside this trial. So it will not be surprising at all midstream as we’re seeing the discussion happen,” Nichols said.
This hasn’t been decided for this trial yet, but the defense attorneys did mention an anonymous jury during Thursday’s proceedings.
Judge Walmsley warned all the attorneys to watch how they question jurors.
“I say that because I watched a few of the examinations of some of these jurors and again it is from my perspective sometimes uncomfortable and aggressive. I understand we’re trying to get the information, but I just want to point that out,” he said.
News4Jax isn’t sure which questions that were asked made the judge feel this way.
The defense argued to dismiss one juror because the name on their Facebook account changed after filling out the questionnaire, and they worried it was done to hide posts about the case.
The judge told them to ask the potential jurors if the questionnaires should be updated, and then criticized the defense for cross-examining potential jurors.
The judge reiterated how long the jury selection process is taking though he did point to getting closer to that goal of 64 potential jurors.
One potential juror on Thursday was 18 years old and the court may consider a closed courtroom for that juror’s comfort. At any point of the trial the state, defense or potential jurors can request the jury be anonymous.