CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– Summons have gone out to find jurors for the James Holmes trial in the Aurora theater shooting from July 2012. Nine thousand have been sent to potential jurors, the most ever for a criminal case in Colorado.
Eligible residents of Arapahoe County have a 1 in 50 chance of getting a summons in the mail for the criminal trail. The chances are also high that victims or witnesses in the case may also receive a jury summons.
Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the 2012 attack at a Denver-area theater. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Out of the 9,000 people summoned the court needs 24 eligible jurors; 12 jurors plus 12 alternates to hear the criminal trial against Holmes.
“Basically we’re going to have a logistical nightmare,” said CBS4 Legal Analyst Karen Steinhauser.
Steinhauser said tracking down people who can put their lives on hold for the trial will be the first hurdle.
“You’re talking about people who are going to have to commit to being able to sit at a trial, that’s five or six months long, and so you think about how many people that might rule out,” said Steinhauser.
Sorting out which potential jurors are not opposed to the death penalty will be another challenge.
“The court has to go through what’s called “death qualifying a jury” where jurors can be excused if they say that under no circumstances could they ever vote for the death penalty,” said Steinhauser.
After that criteria is met, finding jurors who may or may not have some connection to the case, either directly or through someone they know, but can still be impartial is the ultimate goal.
“I think that it’s a realistic goal unless there are issues that come up that cause it to be further delayed,” said Steinhauser.
If actual victims or witnesses receive a jury summons over the next few weeks, they are asked to contact the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office immediately.
Jury selection is scheduled to start Jan. 20.
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