Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Potential Jurors Say They Saw News Coverage of Jensen Case

Judge Ebert is questioning the jury pool about any connections to the defendants, or the attorneys.

To begin the process, 27 potential jurors were herded together as initial selection begins. Of the first 27 singled out, at least three said they worked for a state agency. Another said she worked as an Assembly aide for about six months in 1972.

In addition to questions about familiarity with the defendants, Ebert also asked about exposure to pre-trial publicity. About 10 of the jurors raised their hands when asked whether they'd seen pre-trial publicity, most responding that they had merely seen headlines or pictures.

One juror said she knew that Jensen was "accused of lobbying" and "using time when he should have been working for the state for as campaign time."

Another said she knew that Jensen has asked for a change of venue.

All the jurors who had seen the news accounts said they could be impartial despite the media exposure.

Ebert also asked the jurors whether they consider themselves to be "political junkies." One raised her hand. "I feel it is our duty to pay attention to what's going on in society. I'm a taxpayer ... it affects my life."

Ebert asked whether the woman tends to prefer one political party over another, and she said yes, but added it would not affect her impartiality.

Seven other potential jurors were dismissed from the pool prior to questioning beginning.

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