The Clarion-Ledger, 3/11/9

The jury in the May 11 retrial of Mayor Frank Melton and former police bodyguard Michael Recio will come from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but the trial will be held in Jackson.

U.S. District Court Judge Dan Jordan issued an order Tuesday agreeing to federal prosecutors’ request to select the next jury exclusively from Mississippi’s six coastal counties. Prosecutors filed a motion earlier in the day asking for a jury from the Coast because of the extensive media coverage in the first trial, which ended in a hung jury last month.

Prosecutors noted “it may be impossible to find jurors who have never been exposed to any news coverage about the trial” but said the coastal counties offered the best opportunity to find jurors with the “least amount of exposure to the media saturation” in the first trial.

“The aim of the court on a retrial should be minimizing the risks that potential jurors have been so immersed in details of the prior proceedings that they could not help (but) be influenced despite their best efforts to set aside preconceived ideas,” prosecutors argued.