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Judge sets decorum rules for Shuai trial

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Anticipating a high-profile, weeks-long trial beginning after Labor Day, a Marion County judge Friday laid down rules for public and media decorum in the criminal case against Bei Bei Shuai.

Marion Superior Criminal Division 3 Judge Sheila Carlisle and court staff held a decorum hearing with reporters Friday, issuing two orders pertaining to decorum  and media procedure for the trial. Shuai, a Chinese immigrant, is charged with murder and attempted feticide in the death of her newborn daughter days after she consumed rat poison in an attempted suicide. Jury selection is set to begin Aug. 26, and the trial will start a week later, Sept. 3.

Several representatives from local media outlets and an independent filmmaker were briefed on rules for the trial from seating arrangements to use of electronic devices in court.  

Carlisle said she expects to call as many as 200 potential jurors for the jury of 12, plus six alternates. She said jurors won’t be informed of the case they’re being called for, and they will report to the City-County Building Aug. 16 to fill out standard juror questionnaires and a supplemental questionnaire that Carlisle said is still being prepared particularly for the Shuai case.

Carlisle’s orders restate general state court rules for criminal trials and emphasize regulation of observers’ attire to avoid a circus atmosphere. The decorum order states, for instance, “The wearing of pins, buttons, signs, clothing, and similar materials in the courtroom which express support for or against either party in this case is prohibited.”

Staff from the Indiana Supreme Court Division of Administration is assisting Marion Superior Court in accommodating media ahead of and during Shuai’s trial.
 

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