Jury Selection Continues for Upcoming Domestic Violence Trial


By Anna Olsen and Lamiya Gulamhusein

ALAMEDA, CA – During a Monday morning jury selection hearing here in Alameda County Superior Court, potential jurors were quizzed in attempts to identify potential bias that could impact the outcome of a future domestic violence trial.

John Doe (real name is not being used to protect the identity of the victim/family) faces a charge of domestic violence. The details of the crime were not explained during the court session.

During questioning, lawyers emphasized the importance of setting aside any feelings associated with personal experiences of domestic violence that may impact the way in which decisions are made during trial.

“You can’t have sympathy for (the accused), you can’t have sympathy for Ms. Doe,” one counsel told the potential jurors.

“You may feel badly about their situations, you may not like what you hear about the facts of the case, but sympathy for either side can’t guide your decision,” the attorney said.

One potential juror said he may have difficulty ignoring his sympathy during the trial because a family member has been affected by violence.

“Everybody has a right to defend themselves, even if they are right or wrong,” the juror stated.

The attorney continued with the line of questioning.

“Are you asking for a higher standard than beyond a reasonable doubt, a lower standard than that? What about your personal experiences is impacting your answer to this question?”

The juror answered that, due to past personal experiences, he may not be able to view the trial with impartiality.

“That is perfectly understandable. It is just a question we ask in advance because not everyone can sit in on this case…I really appreciate your honesty,” said the lawyer.

Another potential juror who was a past victim of domestic violence expressed concern with her ability to act as a fair and impartial juror, given the feelings that might resurface while talking about this issue.

After a brief break and discussion between the judge and counsel, multiple jurors were excused and sent home.

Jury selection continues Tuesday.


About The Author

Anna Olsen is a recent UC Berkeley graduate originally from Seattle, WA. She double majored in law and global studies and plans to head to law school after taking a gap year to become a juvenile defense attorney.

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