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Jury Selection Is Underway In Borum Trial

John D. Simmons
Charlotte Observer

The presiding judge overseeing the trial of Rayquan Borum said Wednesday that the trial is expected to be a lengthy one—three to four weeks. But first a jury must be selected and that process is slow going.

Jury selection has begun in the trial of Rayquan Borum after two days of pre-trial motions. He faces a first-degree murder charge in the September 2016 death of Justin Carr. Carr was shot during protests held in response to the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. In court this week, defense attorney Mark Simmons said no bullet was recovered.  

Both the state and the defense expressed concerns over media coverage of Carr’s death and Borum’s arrest and how it could impact a juror’s perspective of the case.

So Judge Gregory Hayes is allowing a different type of jury-selection process.

Lawyers are interviewing potential jurors one on one but only about media consumption around Carr’s death and Borum’s arrest. This does slow down the selection process, but the hope is that it will eliminate any jurors who would be biased because of what they read or saw on the news or social media. Another reason for the one-on-one process is so a potential juror won’t sway another with their answer.

Questions include whether a potential juror had ever heard the name Rayquan Borum or Justin Carr on the news, what media outlets they heard coverage from, and if they had formed an opinion on Borum’s innocence based on that coverage.

Those who make it through this initial round of questioning will then be questioned in front of other potential jurors which is standard.