Part II: Jury Selection
Media coverage had a notable impact on jury selection. Of the some 120 jurors called for the trial, only nine ultimately stated they had “never heard about the case before.”
Ahead of jury selection, Presley’s defense team – attorneys Adrienne Browning and Alan David Tucker – requested the opportunity to submit written Voir Dire, or preliminary examination, questions of potential jurors who would in turn submit written responses. Presley’s attorneys argued this more thorough process would allow the defense time to obtain important information on jurors and also allow time for consideration that the need for a change of venue may arise.
Presley’s defense team also requested individual sequestered Voir Dire so that the attorneys could examine certain personal questions that jurors may not want to answer in front of others, such as previous bad experiences with law enforcement and attitudes regarding race. Browning, in the request, cited an “astounding amount of press, both locally and nationally,” and the need to ask jurors about any exposure to that. She also noted that a mischaracterization of racial attitudes or law enforcement interactions could taint the jury panel, if done openly, and the entire panel would have to then be excused in an effort to protect Presley’s right to a fair trial.
“Do you know the victim?” “Do you know the defendant?” “Have you heard about the case?” “Have you attended the church where Tony Green attended church?” “Have you attended church where Presley attended church?” “Have you been impacted by an interaction with law enforcement?” These were among the questions asked of potential jurors.
All in all, the jury selection took roughly a day and a half and left the jury breakdown as six white men, 1 hispanic man, four white women, and one black woman.
Without providing a definition for the term, Tim was asked in his interview if he thought the jury was ‘diverse’ since the subject of the jury composition was brought up so frequently in the media coverage. Tim said that with Camden County’s population is broken into two categories – transient military that may not call Camden a permanent home and deeply rooted Camden Countians who have familial ties to a large number of people. Both limited the jury pool on the day of jury selection. As for diversity? “In my opinion, yes. Very much so. Out of the 12 of us, there were at least four or five of us with totally different thought processes. That’s kind of what made it [deliberations] take so long. According to the judge, we deliberated a lot longer than they thought we would.”