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Jury seated after second day of selections


OXFORD, Mich. – Jury selection is continuing into the second day for Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the Oxford High School shooter.

Here are some key details about the case:

Local 4′s Shawn Ley was inside the courtroom again Wednesday.

Jury confirmed

The jury has officially been seated. With alternates, it consists of 10 women and seven men.

Another juror dismissed

Another juror went to the box and said his wife has a strong opinion about Jennifer Crumbley. She believes Crumbley should do the same amount of time as her son.

He said he doesn’t always agree with his wife, but going home could be an issue. He was dismissed.

Moving closer to having jury seated

Shawn says it’s getting close to having a jury seated.

Prosecutors and the defense continue to question possible jurors.

Defense attorney Shannon Smith dismissed a juror, and that person was replaced by someone who was “very much against guns for anyone.” The judge excused that person.

Jury details

Seventeen jury members will be seated, including alternates, but the identity of the alternates will not be known during the trial and deliberations.

Judge, jury members return

The judge and prospective jury members have returned to the courtroom.

Lunch break continues

The prosecution and defense team have returned to the courtroom, but they are still waiting for Jennifer Crumbley, the just, and the potential jurors to arrive.

Post-lunch plans

Court is expected to resume at 1:30 p.m.

The defense team has three without cause dismissals remaining, and prosecutors have four.

Both sides expect to have jury today

The defense plans to issue several challenges after lunch.

Prosecutors said if the trial begins Thursday, the victims will want to be there in person. Openings are expected to begin Thursday.

The judge asked both sides if a jury will be seated by the end of the day Wednesday, and they both said yes.

Court breaks for lunch

Court took a break for lunch.

Another juror dismissed

The replacement juror was an engineer who said he made up his mind about the case. He was dismissed.

The woman who replaced him said she doesn’t think parents should be held responsible for the actions of their teenage children.

She was eventually dismissed by the judge.

New juror dismissed

A new juror was brought in, but that person has responsibilities with their child that would have interfered with the trial.

That person was dismissed.

More jury movement

The next potential juror brought in is a parole officer for the state who said his job will not come into play. He said he has no verdict on Crumbley because he hasn’t heard the evidence.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald excused the juror whose sister was the target of a possible school shooting 20 years ago.

Of the remaining 50 potential jurors, 10 men and six women were called up next.

Difference between dismissals

Local 4 legal analyst Neil Rockind, of Rockind Law, spoke about the differences between for-cause dismissals and peremptory challenges:

“For cause means biases have been admitted by a juror. If a juror has admitted a bias or a preconceived notion, they will be excused from service ‘for cause.’ These do not count as peremptory challenges. These are people who have admitted that they cannot serve or who the judge concludes cannot fairly serve as jurors.

“Peremptory challenges are challenges the lawyers get to make without sharing the reason. If a jury member looked at the lawyers oddly or was shy or was too talkative or the had a background the lawyer didn’t care for, they can be excused and they might never know why. The only thing the lawyers cannot use is the person’s race, gender, ethnicity, etc. to remove a juror. They each get five peremptory challenges.”

Explaining jury selection process

Rockind offered further explanation of the jury selection process:

“Jury selection is an art. The purpose of questioning jurors is to attempt to flush out who has any preconceived notions about important issues in the case. I’m glad that Judge Matthews allowed the lawyers to question the jurors themselves because it gives the lawyers a chance to present their own concerns about important issues in the case and to see how the jurors may feel about them — in this case, guns, parental responsibility, school shootings, teenagers, etc.

“The lawyers can evaluate whether each juror individually is right for this case. Some jurors will reveal that they have biases and prejudices that cannot be overcome and they’ve been dismissed for cause. A for cause challenge means just that: There is a reason that the lawyers have given, i.e., a cause that they can cite, as to why that juror can’t or shouldn’t sit. The judge can agree or disagree.

“But the lawyers have other challenges too: five peremptory challenges. They can excuse a juror for no reason given — just the way they looked or didn’t look, their job, their history, etc. Peremptory challenges do need to be explained, and there is a strategy involved there. The lawyers cannot use the juror’s race, religion, gender, etc. as a basis to excuse a juror, but they can use nearly any other reason.

“As jurors are excused, the new jurors will fill the empty chairs and be subject to renewed questioning.

“Once there are no for cause or the parties choose to not to excuse any others, they’ll have a jury.”

Removing jurors

Shawn Ley says this point in the process is like “halftime.”

There are 16 jurors remaining with “for cause” challenges over. Prosecutors and the defense can remove five jurors each without cause.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald seems satisfied with the 16 who have been tentatively seated. A new 17th juror will answer questions now.

Defense attorney Shannon Smith sounds like she will dismiss some jurors.

Juror updates

Sixteen jurors have been tentatively seated, but they are not yet official. One replacement sat down right before the break. That person will be questioned before lunch.

Court takes break

The court is currently in a break.

Dismissals

The prosecution didn’t have any challenges on the 17 people in the jury box.

The defense asked to dismiss two jurors for cause. The first had strong knowledge of the case and was dismissed by the judge.

The other juror believed that no minor should touch a gun. She said she can try to be fair. The judge asked if she would consider Crumbley guilty no matter what if her son had toughed a gun, and the juror said no. The juror stayed.

Juror shares story

One potential juror said she was almost in a school shooting about 20 years ago, but the school resource officer caught the person. She said her sister was a target.

The juror said this affected her life, but she could be fair and impartial in a trial for Jennifer Crumbley.

Sending children to school after shootings

One juror said she doesn’t go to theaters or malls because of mass shootings that have happened in the past. She said it takes a lot to calm her down when she sends her children to school.

Defense attorney Shannon Smith said after the Oxford High School shooting, she couldn’t send her children to school for days.

Could jurors find Crumbley not guilty?

Smith told the jurors that Crumbley is sitting there because she’s accused of a crime. She asked if any of them believe Crumbley is there because she’s guilty.

The jurors said no, and they agreed that they could see themselves finding her not guilty.

Smith continues questioning jurors

Defense attorney Shannon Smith continued to question jurors, including one who said he believes Crumbley should have been responsible for her child. He said if his child threw a baseball through someone’s window, he would be responsibility for it and pay for the window.

He remained in the jury box.

Another juror was asked about being a parent and agreed to listen to the evidence before making a determination.

Defense takes turn

Smith spoke to some of the jurors, including one woman who said her decision would be based on the evidence, and not concerns about backlash if she could Crumbley not guilty.

Prosecutor talks to juror

While questioning one of the jurors, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said, “No juror has ever told me that serving on a jury was a horrible experience.”

Judge comments on evidence

The judge told jurors that they know a minor killed people at Oxford High School, and he has been convicted of murder.

What they don’t know is how he got the gun. They won’t know that until they heard the evidence, Judge Matthews said.

Juror movement

Two prospective jurors were called to join the box. Another asked to be released due to upcoming travel and financial considerations. He was replaced by a difference potential juror.

2 jurors missing

The judge said two jurors who were told to arrive at 9 a.m. are “missing.”

“We do not want to wait,” Judge Matthews said. “As far as (those two), I will handle that later.”

She could enter a bench warrant for them.

Court in session

Court is officially in session.

Judge hopes to have jury today

“I hope we have a jury today,” Judge Matthews said.

Jury selection continues

Judge Matthews took the bench, and Crumbley is seated with her attorney, Shannon Smith.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald and assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast are in the courtroom, along with the chief investigator from the shooting, Oakland County Lt. Tim Willis.

Potential jurors are gathering in the next courtroom and will be brought in shortly. Two of them have just been released.

Shawn Ley back for second day

Shawn Ley is back in the courtroom for the second day of jury selection. He will continue to provide live updates throughout the day.

Jury selection to continue Wednesday

The potential jurors were asked to return 9 a.m. Wednesday.

“I don’t know how far we’ll get tomorrow,” said the judge, who added that a mistrial would be devastating.

They are optimistic that they could have the jury by the end of Tuesday. It’s unknown when the trial will start, but once it starts, things are expected to move quickly.

The current 17 in the jury box contains eight men and nine women.

More questions

McDonald has more questions for the potential jurors tomorrow. The defense attorney has not yet asked questions.

No jury has been seated yet. It’s expected to continue Wednesday.

4 more excused, replaced

They are getting closer to seating a jury. The 17 in the jury box right now may be the final jury after four were excused and replaced.

All 17 said they can be fair.

Prosecutor, defense questions

Prosecutor Karen McDonald and the defense are now asking questions for the first 17 potential jurors

Sending a message?

A juror asked if since it’s the first time parents have been charged, if Crumbley is found not guilty, does that send a message? The judge said it does and that the message being sent would be that the prosecutors did not prove their case.

Juror pay

The jurors will be paid $15-17 a day.

The teacher said she may not be able to afford to serve and she just started a new job.

More juror details

One is a teacher who the judge said looked emotional. She said she has stage fright and watches the news, but thinks she can be impartial.

She said she votes Democrat. The judge said she wasn’t asked that question and the courtroom erupted in laughter.

She was asked if her child threw a ball through a neighbor’s window, would she be responsible? She answered no.

Questions for jurors

Some of the other questions posed to potential jurors: Do you think police officers are truthful when they testify? Did you have an Oxford Strong sign in your yard?

Two people have said they were victims of armed robberies.

One juror said she does not like guns and knows she saw that the gun in this case was unsecured.

Some more potential jurors have been dismissed.

More juror details

Among the potential jurors are an engineer, a vet oncologist, a chef, and a city worker. Most of them have children.

Jurors were asked whether they believe most police officers to be truthful and whether they have any family members who are police officers.

One juror told the judge that it would be difficult to be fair with police testimony because he would take what most police say on the stand as fact.

Jury selection resumes

Jury selection has resumed.

The first 17 were called into the jury box and asked by the judge if there is anything that would keep them from being a juror during this trial.

Some said they have pre-paid trips for work or vacations. The judge excused a juror who has a pre-paid trip scheduled.

Shooter’s name

Judge Matthews told the attorneys that the name of the shooter will not be spoken in her courtroom.

She quickly read the list of at least 80 witnesses who will be called. She did not read the shooter’s name, but he is on the witness list.

Video update from Shawn

Lunch break

The judge allowed potential jurors to take a lunch break, asking them not to discuss anything about the process.

She said they will resume at 1:50 p.m.

Charging details

The charges are that Jennifer Crumbley caused the deaths of the four students who were killed by her son by allowing acces to a firearm.

Potential jurors were told that the prosecutors will try to prove she was grossly negligent and knew her child posed a risk to others.

She is accused of failing to perform reasonable care to prevent her son from harming others.

List of witnesses

Potential jurors were shown a long list of witnesses to see if they know any of them.

They will also be asked 17 questions.

“You will not be here until you’re old and gray,” Judge Matthews said.

Sequestering

Jurors were told not to watch or read the news or go on social media. Judge Matthews said there will be serious consequences for violating those instructions.

Sequestration means jurors would stay together instead of going home at the end of the day, away from outside information.

She said jurors might be excused by her for cause or by lawyers due to challenge. They were told not to take that personally.

Judge instructions

Judge Matthews told the potential jurors that they aren’t looking for people who have never heard about the shooting, because most likely have. She said they are instructed to look at real evidence that’s presented during the case.

She told them that media is in attendance, but that their names and pictures will never be broadcast.

Lawyers were told not to use the shooter’s name.

Potential jurors called to box

Seventeen potential jurors were called to the box.

First group of jurors

The first group of potential jurors includes 21 women and 22 men.

Waiting for next potential jurors

The judge came in and explained what she was going to do in bringing in another group of jurors.

She left the bench and prosecutors left. Prosecutors returned shortly afterward and are waiting for the judge and the potential jurors to be brought in.

How unique is this case?

Shawn asked Neil Rockind, of Rockind Law, to explain why it’s so unusual to have the mother of a shooter charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Here’s what he said:

“This was an intentional, premeditated killing by the shooter. It is extremely unusual for anyone other than the shooter to be charged. What makes this case so unique and unusual is that the prosecution has charged the shooter’s mother with a different crime than the shooter. He committed murder, she is charged with manslaughter. Those are different.

“Involuntary manslaughter means that she caused the deaths of the students not through intentional conduct but rather by gross negligence. Gross negligence is difficult to pin down and sometimes seems tough to define. It means she knew of a danger and knew that she needed to take ordinary care or action to avoid injuring another, and had she acted differently, she could have avoided the injury and that she failed to act to prevent injury to another.

“They are accusing her of knowing that her action and inaction could lead to injury to others and that she disregarded that risk to others.”

More jury members excused

Six more jury members have been excused, and 50 more are being sent up to the courtroom right now.

Seventeen of those potential jurors will be called the judge via blind draw.

Then, they will be allowed to leave for lunch.

Judge takes bench

Judge Matthews has taken the bench.

Some jurors already eliminated

Oakland County assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast and his team are in the courtroom. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald then entered, along with the chief Oakland County Sheriff’s Office investigator of the shooting.

Some of the jurors have already been eliminated from the pool based on their answers in an initial questionnaire.

Prosecutors return

Prosecutors returned to the courtroom and appear ready to begin.

Shawn Ley video update

Courtroom status

Crumbley’s attorney told deputies that she and her client are ready. She said she is waiting on the prosecution.

Prosecutors are not yet in the courtroom, and the judge has not taken the bench.

There are currently no potential jurors in the courtroom.

Why no cameras?

Shawn asked Local 4 Legal Analyst Neil Rockind, of Rockind Law, why there are no cameras allowed in the courtroom for jury selection.

“I think it is totally discretionary with a judge, but protecting juror’s identifications, etc., is paramount to the court,” Rockind said. “I have had trials with cameras in the courtroom during jury selection, but the cameras are either off or pointed at the lawyers and the jurors’ identities and answers are protected.”

Jennifer Crumbley returns to courtroom

Two Oakland County deputies escorted Crumbley back into the courtroom with her hands shackled until she took her seat.

She is not in an orange jail jumpsuit.

Prosecutors entered the courtroom and huddled briefly with Shannon Smith.

Seven deputies from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office are in the courtroom, and more are outside the room.

Security at the front door went through Shawn’s work bag, and then he walked through a metal detector.

At the courtroom door, everyone has to be wanded each time they enter.

Request for jury questions denied

Shawn asked for a copy of the questions the potential jurors will be asked, but Judge Matthews is not providing those questions at this time.

More juror numbers

There are 325 potential jurors who have been called for jury duty, and 300 are at the courthouse as of 9:41 a.m.

There are 15 chairs in the jury box, and the selection process has not officially started yet. Only defense attorney Shannon Smith and the media are in the courtroom, with three victims sitting in the very back.

The other five benches are open and will be taken by potential jurors. Judge Matthews says if there is room for a member of the public, that person can come in since it’s an open court.

If there’s room for another media member, they can stay, but if not, they will be asked to leave.

Inside the courtroom

Oakland County Judge Cheryl A. Matthews said four victims of the shooting chose to be in the court room, along with eight chosen members of the media.

It’s an open, public courtroom, so anyone can attend.

Fifty jurors were brought in, with 18 potential jurors in the box. The rest will be in the gallery.

Matthews said the courthouse has been “paralyzed” by this trial. She said the community is deeply impacted since the shooting.

Jennifer Crumbley arrives

Crumbley arrived at the courthouse without an orange jump suit, handcuffs, or chains. She was wearing a blue dress and leggings.

She has been in the Oakland County Jail since Dec. 4, 2021, on four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Shannon Smith is representing Crumbley in what is now a split case from her husband’s trial. The case was split due to a conflict of interest between the two.

Mariell Lehman is now representing James Crumbley.

Jennifer Crumbley was placed under oath.

Jury selection

During jury selection, the judge, prosecutors, and the defense team for Crumbley will be allowed to question potential jurors and dismiss any they don’t deem likely to be objective or to lean in their favor.

Early in the court process, the Crumbley parents asked to have the trial moved outside of Oakland County because they feared they wouldn’t get a fair trial from jurors so close to Oxford High School. That request was denied.

“As a general rule, if a juror is able to set aside preexisting knowledge and opinions about a case, that is sufficient to support denial of a motion to change venue,” Oakland County Judge Cheryl A. Matthews said.

Copyright 2024 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.



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