Before a word of testimony was uttered today, state Sen. Charles Walker's attorney asked for a mistrial because he said Mr. Walker does not have a jury of his peers.
The U.S. District Court jury is composed of 12 members and four alternates. Only three are black, like the senator. Half are men.
Edward T.M. Garland specifically noted that a white male put on the jury over the defense's objection could be particularly dangerous for the defense because he is an accountant and could favor the prosecution's witnesses and arguments.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Goolsby countered that the addition of the white male to the jury was because the defense had tried to eliminate him for an improper reason.
Attorneys on both sides can strike a certain number of potential jurors for any reason except race or gender.
"They should not benefit from their own misconduct," Mr. Goolsby protested.
U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. denied the defense's motion for a mistrial. He would stick by the decisions he made late last night as he and the attorneys worked for nearly 12 hours to select the jury.
Mr. Walker has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, fraud and filing false tax returns.
Testimony should begin this afternoon.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.