Social Media Use Plays Role In Shelby Jury Questioning


Tuesday, May 9th 2017, 7:21 pm
By: News On 6


Jury selection continued Tuesday for the second day in the trial of Betty Shelby, the Tulsa police officer charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing Terence Crutcher last September.

Tuesday morning, groups of six or seven potential jurors were brought into the courtroom at a time. Just like Monday, they were asked questions such as, "Have you heard about this case?" "Where did you hear it?" "Have you expressed an opinion on the case? If so, what was it?"

On Tuesday, during questioning, several potential jurors told the judge they'd already formed an opinion. Two men in particular stated they felt Officer Betty Shelby was justified in shooting Terence Crutcher.

Judge Doug Drummond called both men to his bench, questioning them on whether they could be impartial and only consider evidence presented during the trial. Both men agreed they could set their opinions aside.

One man said he read a lot about the case on social media and did not believe he could set aside his opinions. The judge dismissed him.

Another woman said she'd made posts and comments on the case on Facebook and also did not believe she could set aside her opinion for the trial. The judge also dismissed her.

Special Coverage: Betty Shelby Manslaughter Trial

In all, thirteen jurors were dismissed before lunch on Tuesday.

Judge Drummond reminded the jury pool they are not allowed to discuss the case with anyone else, cannot watch or read any media related to the case, and cannot research the case at all. 

On Monday, the judge questioned 43 jurors and dismissed eight, left with 35 on Tuesday.

On Monday, out of 70 potential jurors, 65 wrote on their questionnaires they had heard about the case. Additionally, 62 stated they felt they could still be fair and impartial despite having heard about the case.

Judge Drummond reminded the jury pool Shelby is presumed innocent until prosecutors can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she is guilty of manslaughter.

After lunch, prosecutors began questioning the jury pool, talking to them about the importance of laws and the significance of the jury's role. A juror is "an officer of the court," prosecutors explained.

Shelby's attorneys asked potential jurors what "presumption of innocence" meant to them. They asked whether they agreed that everyone has implicit and explicit biases.

Other questions included:

  •  "Do you agree communication is a good way to determine a person's intentions?"
  • "Have you been taught to obey authority?"
  • "Do you think police abuse authority?"
  • "How do you handle extremely stressful situations?"
  • "Do you think race has a place in the courtroom?"
  • "Do you think Crutcher's race had anything to do with this situation?"
  • "Do you think white officers use improper force against black people?"
  • "Has anyone ever jumped to conclusions and wrongfully accused someone of something?"

Around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, an additional juror was dismissed. 

On Monday, the judge questioned 43 jurors and dismissed eight, left with 35 on Tuesday.

On Monday, out of 70 potential jurors, 65 wrote on their questionnaires they had heard about the case. Additionally, 62 stated they felt they could still be fair and impartial despite having heard about the case.

Judge Drummond reminded the jury pool Shelby is presumed innocent until prosecutors can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she is guilty of manslaughter.