Jury selection for the Kealoha trial got underway Monday at the Blaisdell Center with more than 400 potential jurors.
Now it’s time to narrow that down to a panel of 12 plus four alternates.
Ideally, attorneys will be looking for jurors who can be impartial but each side will be trying to gain an advantage. That happens in the next phase of jury selection which takes place at federal court.
Potential jurors were allowed inside the Blaisdell’s Pikake Room before 8:30 a.m. and were seated by nine o’clock. After brief instructions from the judge, jurors were then asked to fill out a questionnaire with 31 questions agreed upon by lawyers from both sides.
Among them, have you ever had your mail stolen from your mailbox? The Kealohas are accused of framing a relative of stealing their mailbox with the help of three HPD officers.
Potential jurors are also asked how much they have heard about the case. And there are three questions on whether they can be fair:
Have you formed an opinion based on that knowledge?
Is there anything you know or have heard that would make it hard for you to be fair?
Do you know of any other reason whatsoever why you cannot sit as a fair and impartial juror in this case?
“If the juror can say look I can put all of that aside and just look at the evidence and be fair then that’s a good juror,” said attorney Doug Chin.
The former state attorney general is not involved in the case. He says the next phase of jury selection is when attorneys try to get an advantage. For prosecutors, finding those more educated and analytical.
“Someone who seems professional who seems like they could be able to analyze cellphone records or listen to people and pay attention to all that,” Chin said.
As for the defense?
“They’re not so cut and dry about how something’s right or wrong. They want to know maybe there’s some explanations for it and that’s a good juror for the defense,” he said.
Jury selection is expected to last more than a week.