Jury selection process in the case of Dylann Roof remains undecided

Attorneys debate size of selection pool

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SAM SPENCE/FILE
  • Sam Spence/file
Attorneys in the federal case against accused Emanuel AME Church shooter Dylann Roof are still hashing out how best to select the jury that will decide his fate in the capital trial.

According to court documents filed Thursday, both sides agree upon an initial jury pool of 1,200-1,500 potential candidates. On Sept. 26, the first groups of prospective jurors will be gathered into a courthouse, be introduced to the defendant, and receive preliminary instructions from the court. Between that time and Sept. 30, hundreds of jurors will be required to complete a case-specific questionnaire before being excused. Those who pass this process will then be brought into court on Nov. 7 for the final round of jury selection, which will coincide with the start of the federal trial.

What remains to be agreed upon by both the defense and prosecution is from where these jurors will be selected. Federal attorneys for the prosecution are pushing for a statewide pool unless Roof waives his right for a Charleston trial. The defense is pushing for a jury selected from Lowcountry counties in the Charleston and Beaufort divisions, according to a joint proposal filed with the federal court.



Defense attorneys are also hoping to direct follow-up questions to potential jurors during the selection process, with questioning including possible bias for or against Roof and jurors’ views on the death penalty and life imprisonment. In addition to the final 12 jurors and six alternates, federal attorneys are also requesting six extra back-up jurors in case of “last-minute issues.”

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