Tempers Flare During Jury Selection Phase of Robinson Trial

TOLEDO -- There were some heated exchanges Wednesday in the Lucas County courtroom where jury selection for the Robinson trial moved through its third day. We've known from the beginning this was going to be a high-profile trial filled with fireworks, and tempers are already starting to flare.

Prosecutors fought to keep a woman in the jury pool despite her saying she had strong feelings against the Catholic church. She also said she could be fair and impartial when looking at the evidence, but the Judge Thomas Osowik decided to dismiss the woman.

Later, things heated up again when prosecutors wanted the jury order to be re-shuffled. They believed there were too many Catholics scheduled to be in the first batch of jurors that will be questioned Thursday. The state fears that could create a bias.

Prosecutor Larry Kiroff said, "Equally troubling is the fact that we feel that, based upon the current makeup of the jurors -- especially jurors 1 through 20 -- that the idea of going forward with the jurors as they are numbered is a strategic defense on the part of the defense counsel."

"This is the shuffle," said defense attorney Alan Konop. "This is the way it was shuffled. It's sufficient, and to infer in any way whatsoever that our position is one that we want a deck to be stacked -- that there's something about too many Catholics -- I think that's preposterous. I think that's insulting."

Judge Osowik decided the matter. "It's still a random assignment," he said. "The defendant, having no objection, I'm going to keep it in the order that it was assigned."

There were 103 potential jurors interviewed, 44 of whom were dismissed. The 59 remaining in the pool will go through another round of questioning Thursday, until the number is narrowed to 12 jurors and 4 alternate jurors. Once that's accomplished, the opening arguments will begin.

Posted by PJS