Saturday, June 02, 2007

[seale trial] The Seale Trial, Day 2: ‘Things I Didn’t Want to Think About’

by Matt Saldaña
May 31, 2007

After nearly 10 hours of group and individual juror examination in the James Ford Seale federal kidnapping trial in Jackson, Thursday’s last jury candidate capped an emotional, and often theatrical, day with tears. By then, U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate had excused seven potential jurors (including one new jury candidate) for bias and mental state, and admitted one extra candidate, reducing the first jury pool to 49.

Juror No. 36, a white female, explained her continuous sobbing at the end of the night as a “problem with (her) nerves.” “I’m afraid that it will get like this again,” she said of her nervous condition.

When prompted, she revealed to the courtroom that her father had shot and killed her former boyfriend in 1982, one of the day’s many candid—and, at times, disturbing—revelations. U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton, a district attorney in 1982, told the court that he had attempted to prosecute her father in the ensuing murder trial, but neither Lampton nor Juror No. 36 could recall one another. Immediately following his interrogation, Lampton moved to strike Juror No. 36 from the jury pool based on her emotional state, a ruling that U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate delayed.

When asked why she had indicated on her jury questionnaire that she disagreed with school integration, Juror No. 36 said that she grew up in a “prejudiced family.”

“You’re taught at home one thing, and you’re taught at school something different,” she said, referring to race.

[View the entire article at the Jackson Free Press Road to Meadville blog.]