November 30, 2021 — Trial under Covid protocols

Yes, indeed, the trial for Dineane Ducharme will go ahead as scheduled. Jury selection is slated for this Friday and the trial will go ahead with the gallery closed to the public. It may be the jury selection will be shared on facebook live-streaming, but the trial certainly will be. This is the web address for watching all that. (Click on the livestream link for Chief Judge Janice Cunningham.)

I will be interested to see whether the court will show jury selection on Friday. I think there are two competing interests. The first is to make the trial available to the public to ensure openness and transparency. If you were sitting in the courtroom during voir dire (jury selection), you would see and hear the jurors as they responded to questions and challenges.

The second interest is the need to protect jurors from unwanted scrutiny; they must be able to do their job without influence or pressure. It is not permitted for news media to publish images of jurors during jury selection and a trial. According to Administrative Order 1989-01, “(iii) Film or electronic media coverage of the jurors or the jury selection process shall not be permitted.” Sometimes, after a trial, jurors will choose to sit for interviews, but that’s when everything is done.

How to reconcile those two contradictory impulses remains to be seen. Always the question remains: could it in some way be an appealable issue?

1 Comments

  1. Steve Petre, November 30, 2021:

    If they allow coverage of jury selection, I believe they will face the camera toward the attorneys, so you can hear the prospective jurors but not see them. Not sure how they will handle reading the names…

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