Arbery Trial: Judge denies motion to ban demonstrations outside courthouse

Defense Attorney Kevin Gough
Defense Attorney Kevin Gough(Pool Camera)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 4:01 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2021 at 4:07 PM CDT
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GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Tuesday marks day six of jury selection in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial.

“At this point the court simply finds that the movant has not met it’s burden on the motion to bar individuals and groups attempting to influence potential jurors,” said Judge Timothy Walmsley.

That’s the judge presiding over the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial denying a motion from one of the defense attorneys that asked for demonstrations to be banned around the Glynn County Courthouse.

The judge considered this even before the new group of potential jurors were questioned Tuesday morning. It was an hour and 45 minutes before the new panel of prospective jurors were questioned.

The judge first had to take care of motions filed by the defense regarding the area around the courthouse, as well as additional questions the defense wanted to add to the voir dire process. Judge Walmsley decided to allow two new questions.

The first has to do with asking potential jurors about their stance on the call for justice for Ahmaud. He decided that question will be added to one already on the list related to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The second question is meant to see how much jurors know about this cases’ impact on Georgia law. They judge says he just wants to know if jurors will follow the law as he explains it to them.

“The court’s going to put the following in general questioning. Will you follow the law that is given you by the court, even if you think the law may be or should be different? And if there’s a response to that question, then you’re welcome to follow up,” said Judge Walmsley.

Out of the more than 100 potential jurors interviewed so far, 32 have been qualified to be considered for the final panel. They want to get just over 60 qualified before choosing the final jury.

The defense and prosecution were here until around 8 p.m. Monday night before qualifying nine potential jurors. The state anticipates the trial lasting until the 19th of next month.

We asked a criminal justice and criminology professor at Georgia Southern University, whose been following the case, about the pacing of the proceedings so far, and if either the prosecution or defense would benefit from a slower pace.

“This is a really different case than most of our jury trials because it is going so very slow. And over the long run, I wouldn’t suppose that it would benefit either side particularly. But I think that the defense has a little bit more of a reason for dragging things out just given their position in the case,” said Chad Posick, Assoc. Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Georgia Southern University.

An attorney for Travis McMichael did tell the court on Tuesday they hope to reach the magic number of qualified jurors, which is 64, by the end of the week. Then the process of paring that down to the final panel would begin.

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