: English for Law Students. 2 year. Part 2 - ( ..)


: 1775

Text 3

Read the extract from the novel by John Grisham A Time To Kill. The process of selection a jury is described in details.

Ninety-four names were written on small strips of paper that were placed in a short wooden cylinder. Jean Gillespie, the Circuit Court clerk, spun the cylinder, stopped it, and picked a name at random. She handed it to Judge Noose. The courtroom watched in dead silence as he squinted down his nose and looked at the first name.

Carlene Malone, juror number one, he shrieked in his loudest

voice. The front row had been cleared, and Mrs. Malone took her seat next to the aisle. Each pew would seat ten, and there were ten pews, all to be filled with jurors. Jean spun again.

Marcia Dickens, juror number two, yelled Noose. She was white, fat, over sixty with a rather unforgiving look.

Jo Beth Mills, number three.

Jake was worried as the first pew filled. By law he had twelve peremptory challenges, free strikes with no reason required. The luck of the draw would force him to use at least half of his peremptories on the first pew. When Noose finished the second row, it contained seven white women, two black men and one white man named Walter Godsey who had no compassion and no potential. Jake sensed a disaster. Relief didnt come until the forth row when Jean pulled the names of seven men, four of whom were black.

It took almost an hour to seat the entire panel. Noose recessed for fifteen minutes to allow Jean to type a numerical list of names. After Noose had reassumed the bench, and the courtroom had been silenced, the judge introduced Carl Lee, the accused, and asked if any juror was kin to him or knew him. They all knew of him, but only two of the panel admitted knowing him prior to his criminal act. Noose introduced the lawyers, then explained briefly the nature of the charges.

The State may examine the panel, he said.

The magnificent district attorney rose slowly and walked importantly to the bar, where he stood and gazed pensively at the spectators and jurors. He smiled sincerely at the jurors, then introduced himself. He explained that he was the peoples lawyer, he had served as a prosecutor for

nine years now, and it was an honor for which he would always be grateful to the fine folks of Ford County. He pointed at them and told them that they, the very ones sitting there, were the folks who had elected him to represent them. He thanked them, and hoped he did not let them down. Yes, he was very nervous and frightened. He had prosecuted thousand of criminals, but he was always scared with each trial. Yes! He was scared, and not ashamed to admit it. Scared because of the awesome responsibility the people had bestowed upon him as the man responsible for sending criminals to jail and protecting people. Scared because he might fail to adequately represent his client, the people of this great state.

Jake had heard all this crap many times before. Buckley the good guy, the states lawyer, united with the people to seek justice, to save society. He spoke without notes, and held the courtroom captivated as he portrayed himself as the underdog, the friend and partner of the jury, who, together with him, would find the truth, and punish this man for his monstrous deed.

After ten minutes, Jake had enough. He stood with a frustrated look.

Your Honor, I object to this. Mr. Buckley is not selecting a jury. I am not sure what hes doing, but hes not interrogating the panel.

Sustained! Noose yelled into the mike. If you dont have any questions for the panel, Mr. Buckley, then please sit down.

I apologize, Your Honor, Buckley said awkwardly, pretending to be hurt. He picked up a legal pad and launched into a list of a thousand questions. He asked if anyone on the panel had ever servedonajury before. Several hands went up. Civil or criminal? Did you vote to acquit or convict? How long ago? Was the defendant black or white? Victim, black or white? Had anyone been a victim of a violent crime? Two hands. When? Where? Was the assailant caught? Convicted? Any member of your family been the victim of a violent crime? Several more hands. When? Where? What happened to a criminal? Any member of your family ever been charged with a crime? Indicted? Put on trial? Convicted? Any friends or family members employed in law enforcement? Who? Where?

For three nonstop hours Buckley probed and picked like a surgeon. He was masterful. The preparation was obvious. He asked questions that Jake had not considered. He delicately pried details of personal feelings and opinions. And when the time was right, he would say something funny so everyone could laugh and relieve the tension. He held the courtroom in his palm, and when Noose stopped him at five oclock he was in full stride. He would finish in the morning. His Honor adjourned until nine next morning.

At nine, Buckley stood slowly and with great animation informed

His Honor that he had no further questions for the panel. Lawyer Jake

Brigance rose from his seat with rubber knees and turbulence in his stomach. He walked to the railing and gazed into the anxious eyes of ninety-four prospective jurors.

The crowd listened intently to this young, cocky mouthpiece, who had once boasted of never having lost a murder case. He appeared relaxed and confident. His voice was loud, yet warm. His words were educated, yet colloquial. He introduced himself again, and his client, then his clients family. He complimented D.A. for such an exhaustive interrogation yesterday afternoon, and confessed that most of his questions had already been asked. He glanced at his notes. His first question was a bombshell.

Ladies and gentlemen, do any of you believe that the insanity defense should not be used under any circumstances?

They squirmed a little, but no hands. He caught them off-guard, right off the bat. Insanity! The seed had been planted.

If we prove Carl Lee was legally insane when he shot Billy Cobb and Pete Willard, is there a person on this panel who cannot find him not guilty?

The question was hard to follow intentionally so. There were no hands. A few wanted to respond, but they were not certain of the appropriate response. Jake eyed them carefully, knowing most of them were confused, but also knowing that for this moment every member of the panel was thinking about his client being insane. Thats where he would leave them.

Thank you, he said will all the charm he had ever mustered in his life. I have nothing further, Your Honor.

Buckley looked confused. He stared at the judge, who was equally bewildered.

Is that all, Mr. Brigance? Noose asked incredulously.

Yes, sir, Your Honor, the panel looks fine to me, Jake said with an

air of trust, as opposed to Buckley, who had grilled them for three hours. The panel was anything but acceptable to Jake, but there was no sense repeating the same questions Buckley had asked.

Very well. Let me see the attorneys in chambers.

The attorneys and their assistants followed the judge through the door behind the bench and sat around the desk in chambers. Noose spoke: I assume, gentlemen, that you want each juror questioned individually on the death penalty. Very well. Mr. Bailiff, would you bring in juror number one, Carlene Malone.

Moments later she followed the bailiff into chambers. She was terrified. The attorneys smiled but said nothing.

Please, have a seat, Noose offered. This will only take a minute, Mrs. Malone. Do you have any strong feelings one way or the other about the death penalty?

She shook her head nervously and stared at the judge. Uh, no, sir. You realize that is you are selected for this jury and Mr. Hailey is

convicted, you will be called upon to sentence him to death? Yes, sir.

If the State proves beyondareasonabledoubt that the killings were premeditated, and if you believe Mr. Hailey was not legally insane at the time of the killings, could you consider imposing the death penalty?

Certainly. I think it should be used all the time. Might stop all some of this meanness. Im all for it.

Thank you, Mrs. Malone. You may return to your seat in the courtroom, Noose said. Bring in number two, Noose ordered Mr. Pate. Marcia Dickens, an elderly white woman, was led to chambers. Yes, sir, she

said, she was very much in favor of the death penalty. Would have no

problems voting for it. Noose thanked her and called for number three.

Three of four were equally unforgiving, ready to kill if the proof was there. Then number five, Gerald Ault, was seated in chambers.

Oh, yes, sir, Ault answered eagerly, his voice and face radiating compassion, Im very much against the death penalty. Its cruel and unusual. Im ashamed I live in a society which permits the legal killing of a human being.

I see. Could you, under any circumstances, if you were a juror, vote to impose the death penalty?

Oh, no, sir. Under no circumstances. Regardless of the crime. Buckley cleared his throat and somberly announced, Your Honor,

the State would challenge Mr. Ault for cause and move to excuse him under

the authority of State vs. Witherspoon.

Motion sustained. Mr.Ault, you are excused from jury duty, Noose said. You may leave the courtroom if you want. If you choose to remain in the courtroom, I ask that you not sit with the other jurors.

Ault was puzzled. May I ask why? he asked.

Noose removed his glasses and became the professor. Under the law, Mr. Ault, the court is required to excuse any potential juror who admits he or she cannot consider, and the key word is consider, the death penalty. You see, whether you like it or not, the death penalty is a legal method of punishment in Mississippi and in most states. Therefore, it is unfair to select jurors who cannot follow the law.

The curiosity of the crowd was piqued when Gerald Ault emerged from behind the bench, walked through the small gate in the railing, and left

the courtroom. The bailiff fetched number six, Alex Summers, and led him to chambers. He returned moments later and took his seat on the first row. He lied about the death penalty. He opposed to it as did most blacks, but he told Noose he had no objections to it. No problem. Later during a recess, he quietly met with other black jurors and explained how the question in chambers should be answered.

The slow process continued until mid-afternoon, when the last juror left chambers. Eleven had been excused due to reservations about capital punishment. Noose recessed at three-thirty and gave the lawyers until four to review their notes.

Gentlemen, are you ready? Noose said staring at his master list, Good. As you know this is a capital case, so each of you have twelve peremptory challenges. Mr. Buckley, you are required to submit a list of twelve jurors to the defense. Please start with juror number one and refer to each juror only by number.

Yes sir. Your Honor, the State will accept jurors number one, two, three, four, use our first challenge on number five, accept numbers six, seven, eight, nine, use our second challenge on number ten, accept numbers eleven, twelve, thirteen, use our third challenge on number fourteen, and accept number fifteen. Thats twelve, I believe.

Jake circled and made notes on his list. Buckley submitted twelve white females. Two blacks and a white man had been striken. Noose methodically recounted. Yes, thats twelve. Mr. Brigance.

The defense will strike jurors number one, two, three, accept four, six and seven, strike eight, nine, eleven, twelve, accept thirteen, strike fifteen. I believe thats eight of our challenges.

His Honor drew lines and check marks down his list, calculating

slowly as he went. Both of you have accepted jurors number four, six, seven, and thirteen. Mr. Buckley, its back to you. Give us eight more jurors.

The State will accept sixteen, use our fourth challenge on seventeen, accept eighteen, nineteen, twenty, strike twenty-one, accept twenty-two, strike twenty-three, accept twenty-four, strike twenty-five and twenty-six, and accept twenty-seven and twenty-eight. Thats twelve with four challenges remaining.

Jake was flabbergasted. Buckley had again stricken all the blacks and all the men. He was reading Jakes mind. Your Honor, we will strike number twenty-two and number twenty-eight, with two challenged remaining.

Back to you, Mr. Buckley. Twenty-nine and thirty.


The State will take them both. Thats twelve with four challenges

The defense will strike them both, Jake said.

Are you out of challenges, correct? Noose asked. Correct.

Very well. Mr. Buckley, thirty one and thirty two.

The State will take them both, Buckley said quickly, looking at the

names of the blacks coming after Clyde Sisco.

Good, thats twelve. Lets select two alternates. You will both have two challenges for the alternates.

Mr. Pate brought the courtroom to order as Noose and the lawyers took their places. His Honor called the names of the twelve and they slowly, nervously made their way to the jury box, where they were seated in order. Ten women, two men, all white. The blacks in the courtroom mumbled and eyed each other in disbelief.

Noose cleared his throat and looked down at his new jury. Ladies and gentlemen, you have been carefully selected to serve as jurors in this case. You have been sworn to fairly try all issues presented before you and to follow the law as I instruct. Now, according to Mississippi law, you will be sequestered until this trial is over. This means you will be housed in a motel and will not be allowed to return home until its over. I realize this is an extreme hardship, but its one the law requires. In just a few moments we will recess until in the morning, and youll be given the chance to call home and order your clothes, toiletries, and whatever else you need. Each night you will stay in a motel at an undisclosed location outside of Clanton. Any questions?

The twelve appeared dazed, bewildered by the thought of not going

home for several days. They thought of families, kids, jobs, laundry. Why them? Out of all those people in the courtroom, why them?

With no response, Noose banged his gavel and the courtroom began to empty. The first juror was escorted to the judges chambers, where she called home and ordered clothes and a toothbrush.

Where are we going? she asked. Its confidential.

By seven, the families had responded with a wild assortment of luggage and boxes. The chosen ones loaded a chartered Greyhound bus outside the rear door. Preceded by two patrol cars and an army jeep and followed by three state troopers, the bus circled the square and left Clanton.


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