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Jury Selection Challenges for Dallas Corruption Trial

By BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Dozens more potential jurors were questioned today in the Dallas City Hall corruption case. KERA's BJ Austin says one local expert calls jury selection for this case a real challenge.

In this high profile case, former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill and several others are charged with bribery, extortion, money laundering and tax evasion. At the center of the case, lucrative tax credits and city contracts for low income housing development.

Dallas jury consultant Jason Bloom - not associated with the case - says lawyers must find jurors who have not been biased, one way or the other, by news reports and other information.

Bloom: That bias is further exacerbated, or could be, by life experiences and attitudes that these prospective jurors bring into the courtroom pertaining to public officials or other instances of public corruption: not necessarily that have taken place in Dallas, but perhaps in other places across the country.

Bloom says lawyers are also looking for people who sit still and focus on complex material for long periods of time. And he says finding jurors who can "afford" to be away from work for at least two months is another challenge.

12 jurors and four alternates are expected to be seated in the next couple of days.

Email BJ Austin