• Expert: Jurors with hidden agenda could sway Kerrick case

    By: Jim Bradley

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Prosecutors and attorneys for former Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall "Wes" Kerrick face a daunting challenge in his trial.
     
    That challenge is to pick jurors who can set aside all of the case's pretrial publicity and listen and deliberate with an open mind. 

    Kerrick is accused of shooting and killing unarmed Jonathan Ferrell on Sept. 14, 2013.

    ARTICLE: Attorneys continue interview potential jurors for Kerrick trial

    "There's going to be a lot of people who come in with opinions," jury consultant Matt McCusker said. "The challenge will be, obviously, that we need everyone to give as honest an opinion as they have."
     
    Several potential jurors have been dismissed after admitting, under questioning from attorneys, that they had already made up their minds in the case. 
     
    But legal experts said there's another kind of juror that has popped up in other high-profile cases around the country.

    Trial Archive:

    Those are people who hide their feelings and opinions intentionally in an effort to be selected for the jury.
     
    They're called stealth jurors, McCusker said
     
    “Individuals who have an interest in being involved simply because it's high profile or because they have an agenda," he said.
     
    Questionnaires have already asked potential jurors about their feelings regarding police and brutality cases around the country.
     
    Watching body language during jury questioning can help reveal hidden agendas, Charlotte attorney James Wyatt said.
     
    "Are they relaxed? Are they open? Do they answer questions seemingly in an honest way?" he said.
     
    In the Kerrick case, with all of its public attention and racial overtones, the stakes in jury selection are high.
     
    He said it is very important to eliminate stealth jurors during the selection process.
     
    Wyatt said while he believes the overwhelming majority of people in the jury pool are honest about their opinions regarding the case, it only takes one stealth juror to potentially have an impact on the verdict.   

    Next Up: