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Judge vows to shield jurors in officer's murder retrial

 Associated Press
May 18, 2017
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A county judge in Ohio vowed Thursday to shield jurors' identities and prevent distractions during the murder retrial of a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black motorist.

Judge Leslie Ghiz also reiterated she is determined to seat a jury in Hamilton County, where she is based and Cincinnati is located, saying she doesn't think moving the trial is in anyone's best interests.

County Prosecutor Joe Deters voiced support in November for moving the retrial after suggesting intense local attention helped lead to a hung jury in the case of former University of Cincinnati Officer Ray Tensing, charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Ghiz earlier imposed a gag order in the case. Jury selection is scheduled to begin next Thursday.

Ghiz warned journalists against photographing or recording jurors and said she won't release their answers on lengthy questionnaires until after trial. She vowed to "protect the integrity" of the proceedings.

"I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens," Ghiz said.

Attorneys for news organizations, including The Associated Press, raised objections during the hearing. The judge in the first trial also restricted media coverage of jurors.

Tensing testified he feared for his life when Samuel DuBose tried to drive away during a 2015 traffic stop near the university. It's among cases across the country in recent years that focused attention on how police respond to blacks, and also highlighted the difficulty prosecutors face in gaining convictions against officers for on-duty shootings.

An Oklahoma jury on Wednesday found white Tulsa officer Betty Shelby not guilty of manslaughter. She said she shot out of fear when she killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man.

A court official said about 235 prospective jurors are expected to report next week to fill out questionnaires, which haven't been finalized. Questionnaires from the first trial included questions about racial attitudes. In-court questioning of prospective jurors will begin after Memorial Day.

Ghiz also plans a May 26 hearing on evidence issues, including whether the jury should see a T-shirt Tensing wore under his uniform that depicts a Confederate battle flag. Prosecutors say Tensing's undamaged clothing counters defense claims he was being dragged, and the defense says the undershirt has no relevance as evidence but could prejudice the jury.

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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