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Prosecutors, defense finalize jury selection rules in Pittsburgh shooting trial

A sticking point is the defense’s request to have extra time if it perceives bias in the prosecution’s exclusion of prospective jurors.

The Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a mass shooting took place during Shabbat services on Oct. 27, 2018. Source: Google Maps screenshot.
The Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a mass shooting took place during Shabbat services on Oct. 27, 2018. Source: Google Maps screenshot.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the trial of Robert Bowers, who is accused of shooting and killing 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018, have whittled the potential jury pool down to 69 people over the past three weeks.

Attorneys for the state and the defendant can reject 20 prospective jurors on each side, and both have largely agreed to the rules that will govern the sitting jury. The only point of contention, as per news reports, is that the defense wants an additional half-day to argue against any bias it might see in prosecutors’ decisions of which jurors to exclude.

“Providing the party making the challenge with an additional 12 hours to review the record, revise their arguments and bolster their position with a written, final submission is unnecessary and provides that party with an unfair tactical advantage to which the opposing party has no opportunity to respond,” prosecutors argued.

Both sides did agree that each can challenge the other’s strikes if it believes that they are discriminatory.

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