On Oct. 21, 18 strangers will come together for the first time and sit in the most important seats in Judge Sherry Stephens’ courtroom. Starting in the morning they will be taken down an unforgettable road that will end in either life or death; not theirs, but Jodi Arias’. Will they have the guts to make the decision? Would you?
The jury selection started with 400, and the 18 that will be “introduced” are the survivors. Before they were selected for the coveted seats, they had to endure long periods of wondering, waiting and some even endured painful questioning and reflection.
They also had to endure THE jury questionnaire. The one used for this re-trial is sealed; however, it is presumably very similar to the one used in Dec. 2012 for the first trial, which is what is discussed here.
How they answered the approximately 30-page, 74 question jury questionnaire is what put them on the radar for being excused, being stricken or being selected. Can you imagine how it must have felt to take the time to answer that thing? It was not multiple choice and could not be done quickly or wantonly. Would you have given the right answers?
You might be sitting there and thinking to yourself that you could definitely have been chosen, that you could be fair and impartial and that you are “middle of the road” when it comes to the death penalty.
So, for those of you who think that, let’s test your position. If you had received that juror summons in the mail and made it through the initial questioning, how would you have answered these particular questions about the death penalty? Would you have remained steadfast in your answers under the scrutiny of Kirk Nurmi and Juan Martinez?
Here’s a sample questionnaire:
Please describe your general feelings about the death penalty.
Do you have any personal, moral, religious, philosophical or conscientious objections ot the imposition of the death penalty? Yes or No. If your answer is yes, please explain:
Are your views in opposition of the death penalty, whether based on moral, philosophical, religious or any other grounds, so strongly held by your sot hat you will be prevented or substantially impaired form performing your sworn duty as a juror if selected to serve in this case? Yes or No. If your answer is yes, plese explain:
Do you hold the opinion that every person who kills another should always be sentenced to death? Yes or No. If your answer is yes, please explain:
Do you hold the opinion that even though a person kills another, that person should never be sentenced to death? Yes or No. If your answer is yes, please explain:
If after hearing the evidence, reviewing the instructions, and deliberating with your fellow jurors you believe that a death sentence is the appropriate sentence; would you personally be able to enter that verdict? Yes or No.
Have you ever felt differently about the death penalty than you do now? Yes or No. If your answer is yes, please explain:
Do you feel that the death penalty is imposed either too often or too seldom? Yes or No. If your answer is yes, please explain:
Do you belong to any group that advocates either the increased use of or the elimination of the death penalty? Yes or No. If your answer is yes, please explain:
If the issue of whether Arizona should have a death penalty law was to be on the ballot in the next election, how would you vote? For or Against or Don’t Know and please explain your answer:
After considering all of the questions asked of you in this questionnaire, and your answers to them, do you feel that you could be a fair and impartial juror to both the State and Defendant Jodi Ann Arias? Yes or No. If your answer is no, please explain:
After answering these, read back through and ask yourself, if you were Juan Martinez or Kirk Nurmi, would you have left you on the jury?