Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

October 30, 2013

Jury seated in Techel trial


When Gardner took over questioning the panel, he told potential jurors emotion or the desire to “see justice done” by making someone pay, cannot be allowed to interfere with examination and dependence upon evidence.

“It’s kind of a natural reaction. When you read the newspaper … and see who got arrested, what do you think? Do you think ... this one is innocent, and he’s probably innocent, he’s innocent and he’s innocent. Is that what you think?”

No, admitted a juror who reads the arrest reports, I think they probably did it. That’s natural, said Gardner, but it’s not what is needed from a jury. They can’t look over at the defendant’s table, see a defendant and think, “Well, he’s been arrested. He’s here in court. He must have done it.”

Gardner wanted to know who among the jury panel lived, or has lived, in a rural setting. How far outside the city, he asked. Are wildlife species frequent visitors to the property? Next he wanted to measure the level of expertise of potential jurors familiar with the use of firearms. He specifically wanted to know about pump shotguns. He also asked who among the panel of 40 had mental illness in their family, among close friends or others they interact with.

Gardner said, “I want you to be fair and impartial towards my client. That may show my bias, but there it is.”

Live twitter feed from Oct. 30 proceedings:

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