James Holmes case judge's estimate for number of potential jurors to be called: 3,500

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
The decision earlier this month of 18th Judicial District Judge Carlos Samour allowing accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes to plead not guilty by reason of insanity keeps the case moving forward -- and it's sure to be one of the most massive prosecutions in the State of Colorado's history. How big? An indication comes in a newly released document from Judge Samour -- one of two on view below. In it, Samour estimates that the number of potential jurors who'll receive summonses in the matter could reach 3,500.

Holmes is accused of killing twelve people and wounding seventy during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises at the Aurora Century 16 theater on July 20, 2012. He faces more than 160 counts.

Andy Cross/Denver Post
Daniel King is Holmes's lead attorney.
Among the documents related to the matter that were made public on Friday is an order responding to a defense motion asking for the creation of a jury questionnaire. Samour writes that he is granting the motion in part due to the large pool of jurors that will be considered. Here's an excerpt:
The Court anticipates that as many as 3,500 individuals may respond to jury summonses issues in this case. Under the circumstances, the Court agrees with the defendant that a jury questionnaire will be helpful and will save time and effort during the jury selection process.
The 18th Judicial District includes portions of Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, as seen in this map:

colorado.district.map.jpg
Click to enlarge.
How likely is it that you will receive a summons if you live in the district? Still rather small, as measured in statistics offered in this official document about the area, dated January 2013, but not so remote that the prospect can be dismissed.

The document begins: "With an estimated district population of 882,041, the Courts of the Eighteenth District serve the most populated judicial district in Colorado. The District population includes Arapahoe County (565,630), Douglas County (288,225), Elbert County (23,287), and Lincoln County (5,169)."

By our reckoning, the 3,500 potential jurors makes up roughly four-tenths of 1 percent of the 882,041 district population -- but the actual number should be higher, since the total presumably includes many people too young to serve on a jury. Does that mean the chances of receiving a Holmes case summons are one in a hundred? Maybe. Higher than that? Possibly.

Another document released on Friday tackles the issue of questioning jurors separately, beyond earshot of other potential panel members, as the Holmes defense team requested. Samour granted this motion, too, but only when it comes to two topics: "death qualification issues" (whether the individual could vote for the death penalty) and "publicity issues" (how much the person has heard about the case and what impact the coverage might have on the ability to be impartial).

In Samour's view, denying the defendants' request in these areas "would risk tainting the entire panel of prospective jurors" -- but requiring possible members to be isolated for questioning on all other subjects, too, "is unnecessary and would be impractical and inefficient."

As it is, the process will be laborious, with lawyers on both sides reading over literally thousands of questionnaires to determine how many people they'll interview in person, in order to find the twelve who'll decide if Holmes understood the difference between right and wrong before bringing so much death and heartache to the loved ones of those who chose to attend a movie that fateful night in July.

Continue to see the documents about jury questionnaires and individual questioning of jurors.



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33 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

-- Matthew 7:1-3

lacoursl
lacoursl

He is still somebody's son.

Mike O'Shaughnessy
Mike O'Shaughnessy

Many people think they have to lie to get out of jury duty. You don’t have to lie; tell the judge the truth. Tell him you’ll make a really good juror because you can spot guilty people just by looking at them. Explain that it has to do with how far apart their eyes are. I guarantee you’ll be out of that courtroom before you can say "justice sucks".

Robert Darrow
Robert Darrow

I'd be bounced. My wife works for the public defenders office and is good friends with his lawyer.

John Pinnick
John Pinnick

I couldn't be on the jury. I already know he's guilty.

Angela Kathleen
Angela Kathleen

My opinion is already made, Guilty! So I couldn't be on the Jury. Plus I would not want to be in the same room with him.

Green_eyes
Green_eyes

Wh could Holmes just have ended his pathetic existence???

RustyShackleford
RustyShackleford

Just remember these two magic words during voir dire: "Jury nullification". Or just show up wearing a FIJA T-shirt.

In either case, not only will you get bounced from the jury pool, they'll also put a "Do not summon again - ever!" annotation in your file...

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I'd love to see a D.A. TRY to convince me out of the dozens of officers who entered the dark theater firing, only bullets from Holmes' guns found human flesh !...

Pam Stiffler
Pam Stiffler

Doesn't mean I wouldn't serve, they just wouldn't let me

Pam Stiffler
Pam Stiffler

Defense attorney would bounce me as a juror: related to a first responder and I've already made up my mind

Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

Whether or not he is "deserving" is not what the LAW is concerned with. There's nothing like good old fashioned moral indignation from the pitchfork-and-torch bearing mob.

Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

Yeah...screw due process. (Il Duce would have been so proud of folks like you.) "Fuck yeah! 'Murkah."

Craig Hawkins
Craig Hawkins

Every citizen deserves a trial. This is America, we don't take people out on the streets and cut their heads off.

Evelyn Maria
Evelyn Maria

He doesn't really deserve a trial! Why do we have to listen to what he did over and over and over we all know he did it time to say GOODBYE!

Craig Hawkins
Craig Hawkins

I just want to be a part of any jury to see what that part of my duties as a citizen is all about.

Jenny Castaneda
Jenny Castaneda

I would love to be on the jury, but I'm in Adams County =[ I should have registered someone in the county they are doing the court!!

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Mike O'Shaughnessy Love the post, Mike. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@John Pinnick .... no post-trial book deal for you!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Angela Kathleen ... guilty ... of being insane.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Craig Hawkins Strong and direct. Thanks for the post, Craig.

RustyShackleford
RustyShackleford

@Craig Hawkins Of course not - we just shoot them, especially if their skin color is wrong for the neighborhood...

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