Local News

Potential Jurors In Mike Peterson Trial To Fill Out 16-Page, 100-Question Survey

Posted May 2, 2003

— For the last 17 months, the Mike Peterson case has been headline news and finding 12 impartial jurors for the trial will not be easy.

Attorney Butch Williams said jury selection is perhaps the most critical stage of a trial.

"It's long, drawn-out and tedious," he said. "Cases are won or lost at the jury selection stage."

That is why lawyers in the Peterson case are being especially thorough. Potential jurors in the case have to fill out a 100-question survey. The defense and the prosecution want to know what they have heard about the case and how they heard it.

"There's never been a case of this magnitude," Williams said.

Williams said these types of questionaires are used in high-profile cases.

"Each lawyer has a copy, [along with] the judge, and you can study it and you know who you're dealing with," he said.

Peterson's defense team includes a jury consultant.

"Everybody's trying to get into the mind of the prospective juror to see if I give them A.B.C., what will they say," he said.

Williams said he thinks the defense may want more liberal-minded people in case Peterson's past homosexual acts come into play. The prosecution may be looking to get rid of people who have had previous run-ins with the law.

No matter what their strategies, Williams said both sides need to be on their "A" game for jury selection.

"That's your audience for the next several weeks and if you don't establish a rapport, it's going to be kind of hard down the road," he said.

More than 100 people will show up for jury selection on Monday. Unlike most trials, the jury pool will be questioned individually, which may be time-consuming. Williams said he would not be surprised to see jury selection last a month.


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