Murdaugh trial: Former judge breaks down jury selection

Murdaugh Murder Trial

WALTERBORO, S.C. (NewsNation) — As jury selection in Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial continued Wednesday, the high-profile trial had many wondering how the jury selection process was being completed and how the jury selection could impact the trial.

Former New Jersey Supreme Court Judge Andrew Napolitano explained the process on “NewsNation Live.” He said that once they eliminate jurors to find about 100 or 150 who are acceptable to the court, the prosecution and the defense, then another process to eliminate individuals will take place. During this process, he said individuals are then eliminated based on the gut instincts of the lawyers.

“If they have a reason for eliminating that person, they should have stated the reason already, and that wouldn’t be in the group of 150,” Napolitano explained. “Sometimes the gut instinct has to do with the composition of the jury. You wouldn’t want all people that think all alike — that are the same gender, that are the same race — you want a composition of the community in there.”

He said that process is relatively brief compared to the process of interrogating them, saying that 12 jurors and four alternatives could be done in about an hour.

There are several factors the judge has to take into account regarding the jurors, particularly given the high-profile nature of the case. Napolitano said that cost could be a major factor in whether the judge would sequester the jury, saying it is “extremely expensive to put the jurors up in housing and to feed them” in such a small town.

However, Napolitano said if he was the judge in this case, he would definitely sequester the jury.

“I would sequester them. The state’s entitled to a fair trial, the defendant is entitled to a fair trial. Neither should worry about the jurists being influenced by what they read in the newspapers or hear on television,” he said.

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