Judge: Jury selection proceeding slowly

So far this morning, eight potential jurors have been questioned and four have been dismissed.

Jordan had hoped to finish interviewing potential jurors by Thursday afternoon. That deadline will likely be pushed back.

“We’re not making the progress I really had hoped,” Jordan said. “I am starting to think tomorrow at 12:30 is an unrealistic goal.”

Among the jurors dismissed today was juror 39, a woman from Hazlehurst. She began to tear up after being asked how she felt about drug-related crimes, saying her ex-husband was a drug dealer.

“I have children and grandchildren and anything to do with drugs, I’m opposed (to),” she said.

Juror 39 was not initially let go. But before breaking for lunch, Jordan said he had changed his mind and struck the woman from the potential jury pool.

Another juror, number 42, was dismissed after saying she did not want to serve on the jury. The Richland woman said her life was too busy right now.

“What we need from you this afternoon is your candid and honest answers,” Jordan said, “Not answers you think will get you off the jury.”

The woman wavered numerous times when asked if she could be an impartial juror. She said she has been disappointed with the mayor’s unconventional leadership style.

“Initially, I thought it was refreshing, but eventually it started to create more problems than it solved,” she said.

Among those retained as possible jurors was number 37. The Clinton man said he could put aside anything he has read or heard about the case as well as any connections he has with the people involved.

The juror said he knows Melton’s attorney, John Reeves. The men attend the same church in Clinton and interacted when Reeves was a state legislator and the juror came to lobby for bills.

Clarion Ledger
2/4/9