12 jurors and 6 alternates have been selected to participate in the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial.
The jury consists of 4 white females, 2 white males, 1 Hispanic female, 4 African American females and 1 African-American male.
The alternates include 2 African American females, 1 African American male, 2 white males and a white female.
It is a very diverse jury pool- exactly 50% minority- in a case that has greatly emphasized race.
The exercise of peremptory challenges began at 9 am this morning. 64 potential jurors gathered in federal Judge Nancy Edmunds' courtroom to see if they had been selected to sit on the final jury.
Right off the bat, Judge Edmunds asked if any of the potential jurors had come up against anything that might make it difficult for them to sit on the jury. 4 jurors were excused immediately.
There were then 6 rounds of peremptory challenges- the right in jury selection for the defense and prosecution to reject a certain number of potential jurors who appear to have an unfavorable bias. Government and defense counsel were asked to submit their strikes for jurors they wanted to excuse. Each of the 6 rounds included 4 strikes for the defense and 2 for the government. These were submitted in writing to the judge who then read out the numbers of the jurors excused.
In each of the 6 rounds, there were Batson challenges- objections to peremptory challenges on the grounds the other party used it to exclude a potential juror on the basis of race- by the defense to some of the government strikes.
The defense kept reiterating that they felt the government was excusing a much greater percentage of minority jurors. The government argued that their choices had nothing to do with the race of the juror but with the juror's perceived attitudes towards race. In every instance except one, Judge Edmunds denied challenge saying that the government made its point that jurors were not being excused opn the basis of race.
In the 5th round, Judge Edmunds did reserve judgment on one of the jurors. After reviewing the potential juror's questionnaire, however, she ultimately decided to deny the defense's Batson challenge.
After the 6th round, the defense and prosecution used their final additional strikes to whittle the pool to the final 12 jurors and 6 alternates.
After the finale 18 were selected, Judge Edmunds congratulated them and had them sworn in.
Opening statements in the trial begin Friday morning.
About the author:
Alexandra Harland is a Princeton undergrad and has a masters degree in International affairs with Columbia. A Montreal native, she worked with the Daily Telegraph newspaper for a few years before transitioning to TV, when she worked at ABC News with Peter Jennings. Alexandra has also worked in newsrooms in both Detroit and Boston.