ST. PAUL, Minn. - Before the potential jurors in the Officer Jeronimo Yanez trial are finalized, they have to fill out a 10-page questionnaire.
We showed those questions to attorney and Mitchell Hamline School of Law professor Bradford Colbert. But first he wanted to clarify a misconception.
"You're not picking a jury. I think that's a misnomer. What you are is trying to do is decide which jurors you can strike,” he said.
In other words, you're not necessarily picking jurors you want, but jurors you don't want.
Now back to that questionnaire. A number of questions stood out to Colbert.
First, there are several questions about the news media. That’s not unusual in a high-profile case, but there are more than usual, he said. And specifically, questions that ask the potential jurors how informed they think they are about this case.
"And where they got that information. And that is what I think the defense is going to try to show, is that they can't get a fair and impartial jury in St. Paul,” said Colbert.
One question asked if potential jurors belong to any group that has protested against police or are part of a group that discriminates against any race.
"Which is not in the typical questionnaire,” he said.
Another question that caught Colbert's attention asked for the potential jurors’ opinion of the American criminal justice system.
"Which is a fascinating question, which I haven't seen that often. It's a really good question because it will help you decide whether you want this person on the jury or not,” he said.
But it's difficult tell either side's strategy based on the questions since we don't know who's asking them. Typically both sides negotiate the questions and the phrasing, but the judge makes the ultimate decision.
One thing Colbert is sure of: Each side will take their time spending this week finding a jury who will decide the fate of Officer Yanez.
"It's a really difficult case. Both sides have some really difficult issues,” he said.
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