Finding An Unbiased Jury
KENNEWICK, Wash. - Have you been summoned to jury duty lately? If you have, you might get called to this big case.
It's the trial for a man accused of driving the getaway car for a suspected killer. It's been in the news a lot over the past year.
Anytime you have a case like this, where a lot of people have heard about it, it can be hard to find enough jurors who don't already have a opinion. A lot of people have heard about the murders of Linda and Danielle Moreno.
Lawyers wrapped up pretrial hearings Thursday. Now it's time to start picking jurors for State vs. Mark Tucker.
Prosecutors accuse Tucker of driving the getaway car for suspected killer James Moran. They said Moran murdered Linda and Danielle Moreno last year. It's constantly been in the news since.
Judges said in high profile cases like this sometimes finding an unbiased jury isn't easy.
"We find that they tend to formulate opinions about the outcome before they'd heard any evidence and that would make it difficult to have a fair trial," said Judge Craig Matheson, Benton Franklin Superior Court.
KNDU took a quick survey and found most people knew about Tucker's case. Some felt they could ignore what they've heard and serve on the jury anyway.
"If I was going to come up with a decision it would be based on evidence not on what I've read in the newspapers," said Judy Steen, Tri-Cities resident.
Others said they couldn't do it. They can't separate the killer from the accomplice.
"I think it would be one of the biggest violations you could ever encounter, to have somebody actually come in your home and to wipe your family out," said Bob Kuespert, Tri-Cities resident.
Judge Matheson said those people are the types of jurors courts like to avoid.
"Just mere knowledge of the case is not enough to disqualify a juror it depends on the nature of the knowledge and what they have done internally with it, have they began to formulate opinions about the case."
Jury selection for Tucker's trial will begin on Monday. Prosecutors did not comment on finding a jury and the Defense did not express major concerns.