<h1>More Jury Selection by State in Possession of Marihuana</h1> <p>THE COURT: All right. We&rsquo;re going to call this case. This is Cause No. 1398720, which is the State of Texas versus Suzanne Akua Asante.<br />What says the State?<br />MS. MENS: State&rsquo;s ready.<br />THE COURT: And what says the defense?<br />MR. STRIKER: Defense is ready, Your Honor.<br />THE COURT: All right. Why don&rsquo;t we go ahead and arraign Ms. Asante.<br />MR. MCMINN: In the name and by the authority of the State of Texas, comes now the undersigned assistant district attorney of Tarrant County, Texas, in behalf of the State of Texas, and presents in and to the County Criminal Court No. 2 of Tarrant County, Texas, that Suzanne Akua Asante, hereinafter called Defendant, in the County of Tarrant and State aforesaid, on or about the 14th day of January, 2015, did then and there intentionally or knowingly possess a useable quantity of marijuana of two ounces or less, against the peace and dignity of the State, signed by assistant district attorney Danny Price.<br />THE COURT: All right. Ms. Asante, to that charge you can plead either guilty or not guilty.<br />THE DEFENDANT: Not guilty.<br />THE COURT: All right. Okay. Are y&rsquo;all ready to bring in the jury?<br />MS. MENS: No, not yet, Your Honor.<br />THE COURT: No?<br />MS. MENS: No. Five more minutes?<br />MR. STRIKER: Five minutes is agreeable, Judge.<br />THE COURT: Okay. We&rsquo;ll give you five minutes.<br />(Break taken)<br />THE COURT: Okay. Let&rsquo;s bring &rsquo;em in, please.<br />(Venire panel seated in courtroom)<br />THE BAILIFF: Is everybody where they&rsquo;re supposed to be? Jury panel is present, Your Honor.<br />THE COURT: All right. Thank you. Y&rsquo;all please be seated. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.<br />VENIRE PANEL: Good morning.<br />THE COURT: How y&rsquo;all doing? Everybody glad to be here? It&rsquo;s okay to be honest. That&rsquo;s what we<br />want you to be.<br />All right. Just so y&rsquo;all know, my name is Carey Walker and I&rsquo;m the presiding judge of this court, have been so for almost seven months. So I&rsquo;m still &mdash; instead of a practicing lawyer, I&rsquo;m a practicing judge. So hopefully one of these days I&rsquo;ll get it right.<br />But anyway, I&rsquo;m glad y&rsquo;all are here. And I have instructions that I am required to read to you. So I&rsquo;m going to get started with that in just a second. One of the things that I wanted to address with you just briefly is whenever I talk to you or whenever the attorneys talk to you in conversation, we have a tendency to nod our heads, shake our heads, say uh-huh and huh-uh, okay?<br />You can see we have a court reporter,<br />Mr. Shelton here, who&rsquo;s taking down everything that you&rsquo;re saying. So it&rsquo;s kind of hard for him to do that. If you nod your head or shake your head or if you &mdash; I&rsquo;ve been told I have an accent. I don&rsquo;t know that I do, but sometimes you want to say uh-huh and huh-uh and that just doesn&rsquo;t come across. And you will find yourself doing it even though I will tell you. And you will see the witnesses, those six of you that are selected, you will see the witnesses do it. And I will tell them please, you know, speak verbally. Say yes or no or whatever the case may be. So anyway, with that being said, I&rsquo;m going to start reading these instructions to you so we can go ahead and get started.<br />Just a little housekeeping, I think that this case, there&rsquo;s a possibility we could get finished today. At the very latest, I think it would be tomorrow. So I doubt this case will go any longer than two days just<br />so y&rsquo;all know that.<br />The good news is if it goes one day, it only lasts one day. The other good news is if it goes two days, y&rsquo;all get $40 a day tomorrow.<br />All right. The record will reflect that all 18 members of our jury panel are present and seated in the jury box. I&rsquo;ve already introduced myself to you. We&rsquo;ve invited you here to serve as a jury panel from which a jury of six persons will be selected to hear and decide one of our cases.<br />The first thing I need to do is swear you in as our jury panel. So if you would keep your seats but raise your right hands for me.<br />(Venire panel sworn)<br />THE COURT: All right. Thank you very much.<br />The next thing the law requires me to do is to determine your basic qualifications to sit as a juror in a criminal case here in the State of Texas. We do that by asking three questions. Now, these questions may have been asked to you downstairs, but the law says I&rsquo;ve got to ask you again. So I will ask you them one right after the other and then I will call for any responses. And here are the questions.<br />Number one, except for failure to register, are you a qualified voter in this county and under the Constitution and laws of this state?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />THE COURT: Does that apply to everybody? If it doesn&rsquo;t, raise your left hand. Okay. So I take it that everyone here is either a qualified voter or could be a qualified voter. Okay.<br />Have you ever been convicted of a theft or any felony? And if you have, please raise your left hand. Okay. No left hands raised. Are you under indictment or legal accusation for theft or any felony? If so, please raise your left hand.<br />All right. No left hands raised.<br />All right. I take it then that you are all fully qualified to sit as a juror in a criminal case here in the State of Texas. This being a county criminal court, we try Class A and Class B misdemeanor criminal cases. I&rsquo;m going to give you some instructions that will govern all of our conduct from this point forward. When you hear these instructions you will understand that they are not burdensome, but are designed to give both sides in this case a fair and impartial trial.<br />The case that is now on trial is the State of Texas versus Suzanne Asante. This is a criminal action which will be to decide whether Suzanne Asante is guilty or not guilty of the alleged offense of possession of marijuana of less than two ounces.<br />It is the duty of the judge to see that the case is tried in accordance with the rules of law. In this case, as in all cases, the actions of the judge, the parties, the witnesses, attorneys and jurors must be according to law.<br />Texas law permits proof of violation of the rules of proper jury conduct. By this I mean that jurors and others may be called upon to testify in open court about acts of jury misconduct. I instruct you, therefore, to follow carefully all instructions which I am now going to give you, as well as others which you will receive while this case is on trial.<br />If you do not follow the instructions I am about to give you, it may become necessary for another jury to retry this case with all of the attendant waste of your time here and the expenses to the defendant and the taxpayers of this county for another trial. These instructions are as follows.<br />Do not mingle with nor talk to the lawyers, the witnesses, the parties or any other person who might be connected with or interested in this case except for casual greetings. They have to follow these same instructions, so you will understand it when they do.<br />Do not accept from nor give to any of these persons any favors, however slight, such as rides, food or refreshments. And do not discuss anything about this case or even mention it to anyone whomsoever, including your wife or husband, nor permit anyone to mention it in your hearing until you are discharged as jurors or excused from this case. If anyone attempts to discuss the case, report it to me at once.<br />The parties through their attorneys have a right to direct questions to each of you concerning your qualifications, background, experiences and attitudes. In questioning you they are not meddling in your personal affairs, but are trying to select fair and impartial jurors who are free from any bias or prejudice in this particular case.</p> <p>Do not conceal information or give answers which are not true. Listen to the questions and give full and complete answers. And if the attorneys ask some questions directed to you as a group that require an answer on your part individually, just hold up your hand until you have answered the question.<br />So far, are there any questions?<br />Okay. This is Cause No. 1398720, the State of Texas versus Suzanne Asante. As I indicated, the allegation is one of possession of marijuana of less than two ounces.<br />Now, knowing that much or that little about this particular case, do any of you on the panel believe you know anything more about this case other than what I have just told you? All right. Then I take it by your silence that no one knows anything about this case.<br />Now, at this time I need to introduce to you the people that are sitting in front of you. Representing the State of Texas in this matter will be Ms. Jade Mens.<br />MS. MENS: Hi.<br />THE COURT: And assisting her is Mr. Jackson McMinn.<br />MR. MCMINN: Good morning.<br />VENIRE PANEL: Good morning.</p> <p>THE COURT: And they are both assistant criminal district attorneys working here in this building.<br />And representing Ms. Asante is Max Striker.<br />Mr. Striker.<br />MR. STRIKER: Good morning.<br />THE COURT: He is a criminal defense lawyer working here in Tarrant County and the surrounding<br />counties. And sitting next to him is his client, Ms.Suzanne Asante.<br />THE DEFENDANT: Good morning.<br />THE COURT: Thank you, ma&rsquo;am. Now, you&rsquo;ve had some contact with the bailiffs. And one of our bailiffs is back here. And our other bailiff is sitting over here. And I didn&rsquo;t get your name this morning.<br />THE BAILIFF: I&rsquo;m deputy Kayla Adams. Nice to meet you.<br />THE COURT: All right. And this is Johnny Pettijohn back here. So, anyway, the reason I didn&rsquo;t know her name, she is being a fine substitute this morning for the gentleman that&rsquo;s usually in our court. And he&rsquo;s not here, so she is helping us out today. All right. Sitting in front of you is</p> <p>Mr. Bill Shelton. He is the court reporter. And just like I briefly went over with you, you can see that his fingers are very busy. You won&rsquo;t hear much out of him, but I guarantee you that he&rsquo;s actively at work taking down what I&rsquo;m saying, he&rsquo;s going to take down what y&rsquo;all are saying and then he&rsquo;s going to take down what the attorneys have to say. And then later on during the course of the trial, he will take down what the witnesses have to say.<br />So you can use your outside voice in here, okay? He needs to be able to hear it. Mr. Striker and his client needs to be able to hear you. So do not be afraid to use your outside voice. You will not offend anybody. As a matter of fact, you will help us out by doing so.<br />All right. I&rsquo;m going to go over certain fundamentals of our criminal justice system with you. These are things that you probably already know, but I think it&rsquo;s helpful to get them fresh in your mind at the beginning of a criminal trial.<br />The first thing is the presumption of innocence. As Ms. Asante sits here today, she is cloaked with that presumption of innocence and that presumption stays with her unless or until her guilt is established by legal and competent evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. The fact that she may have been arrested and/or charged</p> <p>with the alleged offense gives rise to no inference of guilt at her trial.<br />In a misdemeanor case, the State of Texas generally begins things by filing a piece of paper called a misdemeanor information, or the information. And that is this document right here. In a felony court this document would be called an indictment. And you&rsquo;re probably more familiar with that. That&rsquo;s probably a more familiar term.<br />But in misdemeanor court, you do not have to be &mdash; you do not have to have your case presented to a grand jury and a grand jury does not have to return an indictment. So in misdemeanor court it is called the information.<br />All right. The information, it&rsquo;s the charge. Tells an individual what they&rsquo;re charged with, and it has three additional purposes. It starts the case, it tells the defendant what he is charged with or what she is charged with, it tells the State what they&rsquo;ve got to prove. The fact that an information is on file in this case gives rise to no inference of guilt against Ms. Asante. Does everyone understand that?<br />The burden of proof in a criminal case is always on the State of Texas. They&rsquo;ve got to prove what we call each and every element of the alleged offense</p> <p>beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, Ms. Asante has absolutely no burden. She doesn&rsquo;t have to do a thing, she doesn&rsquo;t have to say a thing. And if that is the course of action she chooses, you will be instructed that you cannot consider that choice or hold it against her in any way.<br />If the State succeeds in proving each and every element of the alleged offense beyond a reasonable doubt, it will be the duty of the jury to find Ms. Asante guilty as charged. However, if the State fails in its burden or if you have a reasonable doubt about it, it will be the duty of the jury to find Ms. Asante not guilty.<br />If I instruct you that this is the law, can each of you follow that? If you can, please raise your left hand. The instructions that I give you, can you follow those? All right.<br />Ma&rsquo;am, can you not follow the law?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />THE COURT: All right. So I take it that all 18 of you can; is that right?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />THE COURT: Great. Excellent. All right. The first part of any jury trial naturally is jury selection. In a misdemeanor case, both sides have up to three strikes that they can use against potential jurors</p> <p>for almost any reason. And what happens is the first six of you who are not stricken or otherwise excused end up being on our jury.<br />So they&rsquo;re probably going to tell you here in a minute and I&rsquo;m going to go ahead and let you in on a<br />little secret. Typically if you don&rsquo;t say anything, you get selected. It&rsquo;s usually the way it works. If you sit there and don&rsquo;t speak, then you usually end up being on the jury panel. And there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with that, but just so you know.<br />And so what happens is you can see there&rsquo;s 18 of you and we&rsquo;re only looking for six. So that means 12 of you are going to get to go home today, six of you are not. So my advice to you is if you have something to say, say it. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to say it, don&rsquo;t be bashful. I don&rsquo;t think anybody here is going to bite you.<br />All right. So just like I said, it&rsquo;s sort of jury selection by elimination. Because each side has three strikes, they get six. So if you take six away from 18, that leaves 12 if there are no other challenges. And so the first six that are left standing will be the ones that are actually chosen.<br />In order to intelligently exercise those strikes, if that&rsquo;s what they choose to do, both sides get to visit with you, find out a little bit about you, find</p> <p>attitudes on certain areas of the law. Remember at this point in time the oath you took was to tell the truth. You didn&rsquo;t take an oath about saying that you were going to follow the law. You took an oath to tell the truth. And that&rsquo;s what these ladies and gentlemen are going to ask of you is to tell them the truth if they ask you questions.<br />All right. So if an issue comes up that you feel strongly about, and it happens from time to time, and you want to talk about it, now is the time to bring it up. Both sides are looking for six people who can be fair and impartial &mdash; both sides are looking for six people who can give a fair and impartial hearing to this particular case.<br />There are circumstances in all of our lives that might make us great jurors in certain kinds of cases and not so great jurors in other kinds of cases. And that&rsquo;s what this process is designed to determine. If you are selected to be on jury, you will then be sworn to follow the law of the State of Texas as I give it to you. So you can see the importance of telling both sides if you&rsquo;ve got strong feelings about certain issues that may come up. So this is the time to do it. Don&rsquo;t be shy. Again, don&rsquo;t be bashful. You have to let the attorneys know what your feelings are about any issue that they ask</p> <p>you about. Their sole goal is to find out in their mind if they believe that you can be a fair and impartial juror in this case.<br />If a subject comes up that you&rsquo;re not comfortable talking about in front of a group of strangers, all you have to do is raise your hand and say I would prefer not to talk about that in front of these other people and we will address that at a later time outside the presence of everybody else. Does everyone understand that?<br />All right. This is the only chance the attorneys will get to talk with you, so please listen carefully to their questions, answer as openly and honestly as you can. Remember to speak out loudly and clearly. It&rsquo;s not a library and no one is going to ask you to be quiet. Just like I said before, we have to make a record of everything that goes on during the course of this trial.<br />All right. As a matter of fact, I&rsquo;m on the last paragraph. All right. One of the things that we try to do in this court is to be accommodating and be a friendly court. So I allow drinks to be brought in here, soft drinks, coffee, water, whatever it is that you &mdash; whatever is your drink of choice, as long as it&rsquo;s nonalcoholic.</p> <p>So if we take a break, there is a break room down on the first floor which is on the P level, plaza is what that stands for in case any of y&rsquo;all were wondering. I&rsquo;ve been coming to this building since 1991. It took me about ten years to figure out what P stood for.<br />Anyway, there&rsquo;s a break room down there. So feel free to do that. And just so you know, a little bit more housekeeping, each side has 30 minutes to visit with you. So if you ever need to take a break, regardless of when it is, like I&rsquo;m saying, we are accommodating. All you have to do is raise your right hand or your left hand and tell me, Judge, I need a break and we&rsquo;ll take a break, okay? So you&rsquo;re not being held hostage.<br />And typically what we&rsquo;ll do after, and like I told you earlier, the State gets to go first since they have the burden of proof. And typically what I do after they go first is we take a break. Because I figure about 30 minutes, you know, and I&rsquo;m speaking for myself personally, after about 30 minutes my attention span tends to wander. And I know most people are the same. We&rsquo;re good for about 30 minutes at a time and then need a little break and then you can come back in. So that way both sides will have equal opportunity.<br />All right. With that being said, Ms. Mens,</p> <p>you may proceed.<br />MS. MENS: Thank you, Your Honor. Good morning.<br />VENIRE PANEL: Good morning.<br />MS. MENS: My name is Jade Mens and I&rsquo;m here with my trial partner, Jack McMinn. We are pleased to represent the State of Texas. We serve as prosecutors under our elected criminal DA, Sharen Wilson.<br />We&rsquo;re here today in the State of Texas versus Suzanne Asante. Now, in case you&rsquo;re wondering, this is a possession of marijuana case under two ounces. Who all has seen Suits or Law &amp; Order, show of hands?<br />So there are three phases to every trial. What they show on those TV shows, it&rsquo;s kind of like the fun part. It&rsquo;s the guilt/innocence phase is where you hear all the evidence, you see people on cross, you have the Perry Mason moment. We may or may not have a Perry Mason moment. Don&rsquo;t hold me to that standard. This is my first jury trial, so we are learning together, okay.<br />The phase that we&rsquo;re in now is voir dire. That&rsquo;s just a fancy way of saying jury selection. So that&rsquo;s our process of getting to know a little bit more about you, about some of your life experiences, any biases or prejudices you may have. The point of it really is to see if you can fairly and impartially hear the evidence</p> <p>and decide the outcome of the case. The final phase would be punishment. And that&rsquo;s only necessary if we get there and you guys find her, the defendant, guilty.<br />Your responsibilities as jurors, again, would be to fairly and impartially evaluate the evidence and just to follow the law. And by a show of hands, is there anyone here who thinks they will be able to do that?<br />Is there anyone here who thinks they wouldn&rsquo;t be able to do that for any reason?<br />Okay. Mr. Perales.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Uh-huh.<br />MS. MENS: Can you tell me a little bit more about that?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I smoke marijuana.<br />MS. MENS: You smoke marijuana?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I would be impartial.<br />MS. MENS: You would be impartial? You would be partial?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No, I would be partial, yeah.<br />MS. MENS: To the defendant?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Thank you for your honesty. Is there anyone else who&rsquo;s had any involvement with possession of marijuana, any friends,</p> <p>family?<br />Okay. Mr. Cousin.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I have, but I&rsquo;ve quit.<br />MS. MENS: You quit?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah, because of job, work.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. And Mr. Bosquez.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Family.<br />MS. MENS: Family. Were they involved in the criminal justice system?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Do you feel like they were treated fairly by law enforcement?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: It was mainly over a custody of a child, but it was due to marijuana drug.<br />MS. MENS: So it came up in their custody hearing?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Uh-huh.<br />MS. MENS: Do you feel like that would affect your ability to be fair and impartial in this case?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: You do? Do you feel like you would be unfairly prejudiced either way?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Either way.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. Thank you for your</p> <p>honesty.<br />And who else raised their hand? Mr. Hill.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I have coworkers that smoke.<br />MS. MENS: Okay.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: So it doesn&rsquo;t bother me, though.<br />MS. MENS: It doesn&rsquo;t bother you that they smoke?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: So do you think you would be unable to fairly evaluate the evidence in this case?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah, I can evaluate it fine.<br />MS. MENS: So you think you would be fair and impartial?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Uh-huh.<br />MS. MENS: Thank you for your honesty. And there was one more hand.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I have friends in college that did it.<br />MS. MENS: Were they involved in the criminal justice system?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No. It was just college.</p> <p>MS. MENS: So do you think you would be able to be fair and impartial in this case?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Is there anyone here who thinks marijuana should be legal? Mr. Cousin, Mr. Bosquez. I saw a hand in the back. Mr. Miller, I haven&rsquo;t heard from you. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Just more of a thinking in this day and age that there are more important things to be worried about than that. That&rsquo;s something from the past.<br />MS. MENS: But under the laws of Texas, the state has found it, any possession of marijuana, is<br />illegal. Would you have a problem holding someone to that standard?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No. I mean, but as far as my personal opinion about it, you know, there are so many other things that are so much worse.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. Mr. Perales.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah, I think it should be legal.<br />MS. MENS: And anyone? Ms. York &mdash; no,<br />Ms. Garrett.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah, I feel like it</p> <p>should be legal, too.<br />MS. MENS: You feel like it should be legal? Would you have a problem following the law in this case? Because in Texas it is illegal.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No, I don&rsquo;t have a problem following it. I just have a different opinion about it.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. I appreciate your honesty. Anybody else?<br />Mr. Bosquez, tell me a little bit more about that.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I just feel like it&rsquo;s the same thing what he said. There&rsquo;s a lot more other drugs worse than marijuana.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. That&rsquo;s my next slide, actually. Who feels like the state of the law as it is now is about right, that marijuana should be illegal?<br />Show of hands. Who feels like they are &mdash; it&rsquo;s too strict?<br />Okay. Ms. York.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Blaise-Shamai.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: There&rsquo;s merit for medical reasons.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. I appreciate your</p> <p>honesty.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I agree with her. I&rsquo;ve got some family members &mdash;<br />MS. MENS: I can&rsquo;t hear you. I&rsquo;m sorry.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: There&rsquo;s some family members that are in bad situations.<br />MS. MENS: So for medical reasons?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: And it would help them.<br />MS. MENS: Okay: Who feels like the law as it stands is about right? Nobody? No takers? This process is kind of like dating, a little bit awkward at first, but the more we get to know each other, I hope you guys warm up.<br />(Laughter)<br />THE COURT: What she&rsquo;s saying, ladies and gentlemen, you need to speak up if you can.<br />MS. MENS: To prove the defendant guilty, it is our burden, as the judge stated earlier, to prove that she, on or about a certain date, in Tarrant County, Texas, intentionally or knowingly possessed a useable quantity of marijuana, two ounces or less. So it&rsquo;s our burden to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. We&rsquo;ll get there a little bit later. But let&rsquo;s talk about some of these elements in turn. Possession means the care, custody, control or</p> <p>management. What does that really mean? Here&rsquo;s an example. Everybody sees this pen, right? I&rsquo;m holding the pen, right? Is this in my possession?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Is it in my care?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Is it in my custody?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Control?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Management?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: It&rsquo;s my pen, right? But what if I put it on this table? Is it still my pen?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: It&rsquo;s still &mdash;<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: It is.<br />MS. MENS: What if I give it to my co-counsel?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: It&rsquo;s in his possession.<br />MS. MENS: It&rsquo;s in his possession, it&rsquo;s in his care, his custody, his control, his management. So it&rsquo;s my pen, I still possess it. But he possesses it, too, because now he&rsquo;s holding it, correct? So you can possess something &mdash; two people can possess the same thing</p> <p>at the same time. Does that make sense?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: No? It&rsquo;s not clear. Still my pen.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I know it&rsquo;s your pen.<br />MS. MENS: I own it. It&rsquo;s mine. It&rsquo;s in my custody, in my care, control and management. I pass it to him. He possess it, too.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I don&rsquo;t know. I think that&rsquo;s a first. He has your pen, but it&rsquo;s your possession.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. Same thing. What if I put it in my bag? Is that still in my care?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Uh-huh.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah, it&rsquo;s your bag.<br />MS. MENS: It&rsquo;s my bag, my custody, my control, my management, correct?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: You don&rsquo;t have any management over it. It&rsquo;s in your bag now.<br />MS. MENS: It&rsquo;s my bag. I can get up, put the bag on, take it out of here.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Right, but can&rsquo;t he put it in there?<br />MS. MENS: But it was always my pen, right?</p> <p>It was always mine.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: As far as we know.<br />MS. MENS: Say it again.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: As far as we know.<br />MS. MENS: Take my word on it. Give me some slack, wow.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: The thing is, it&rsquo;s like having a drink at a party. If you set it down and if you&rsquo;re not watching it 24/7, you don&rsquo;t have control over it.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. Everybody agrees, though, that this is always &mdash; never gave it away. This was always my pen. Never in dispute, this is mine. I bought it, brought it to court, I told you it&rsquo;s mine. It&rsquo;s mine, right?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Correct.<br />MS. MENS: Even if it&rsquo;s in the bag it&rsquo;s still mine, right? Anybody disagree with that? No? Intentionally or knowingly. If I put my hand out to you, how did you know I wanted to shake your<br />hand?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: You put your hand out.<br />MS. MENS: Did I say, I want to shake your hand?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.</p> <p>MS. MENS: No. But I communicated my intent to shake your hand, right?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: How?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Just by coming forward.<br />MS. MENS: It was my body language and coupled with my actions that communicated my intent. It&rsquo;s kind of the same thing here. A person doesn&rsquo;t have to say, I intend to shake your hand, for you to know. They can do other things that indicate their actions and their intent.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: But there&rsquo;s more dimension there. Just to extend your hand culturally that means something here. So I think in other areas, in other jurisdictions that wouldn&rsquo;t mean the same thing.<br />MS. MENS: But we&rsquo;re here. We&rsquo;re in America. God bless the USA. Here in Tarrant County, Texas, in this courtroom today, was everyone clear what that meant? If I were to extend my hand to you,<br />Ms. Mansour, would you know that I wanted to shake your hand?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Cousin?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah.<br />MS. MENS: Everyone would know that, right?</p> <p>mplete that handshake, I would also have to know that eventually we&rsquo;re going to touch. We&rsquo;re going to exchange that. Does that make sense? So I can&rsquo;t intend for you to shake my hand without knowing the consequences of what that means.<br />Is everybody clear on that?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Useable amount. Okay. So to be useable, it only &mdash; it just means that you can smoke it. In the case of marijuana, it&rsquo;s just was it able to be smoked. We&rsquo;re not talking &mdash; it&rsquo;s not going to be a baseball, Scarface, it&rsquo;s not like that. Two ounces of it is a very small amount. Is there anyone who would have a problem convicting someone, even if I proved every single element of the offense, even if it&rsquo;s just a small little bit, would anyone have a problem with that?<br />Mr. Cousin.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Just because it&rsquo;s just a small amount.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. Anyone else?<br />Mr. Perales?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: (Nods head up and down).</p> <p>MS. MENS: Anyone else? Okay. Ms. Garrett, you have a problem with that. Tell me why.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Because it&rsquo;s not like it&rsquo;s like crack or just like meth and stuff. Like it&rsquo;s just &mdash; I don&rsquo;t feel like it&rsquo;s going to harm nobody or somebody out on the street just like selling it. It&rsquo;s a small amount compared to a small amount of crack would be different.<br />MS. MENS: Okay. Thank you for your honesty.<br />The defendant&rsquo;s rights. Under the Fifth Amendment, Ms. Asante has the right to remain silent. So you&rsquo;re not allowed to presume that she&rsquo;s guilty because see chooses to take the stand or not to take the stand in her own defense. She doesn&rsquo;t have to say anything. Again, the burden is on the State to prove all the elements of the offense.<br />As the judge stated, she has the presumption of innocence. That presumption of innocence, however, doesn&rsquo;t translate into a presumption of truthfulness. So you can&rsquo;t also put assumptions on her because &mdash; you can&rsquo;t assume that she&rsquo;s not guilty because she doesn&rsquo;t say anything. It goes both ways.<br />She has the right to a jury trial, which is</p> <p>why you all are gathered here. And she has the right to discovery of State&rsquo;s evidence. So everything that we have, her defense counsel also has access to. So nobody is hiding the ball here.<br />I alluded to this earlier. Our burden is beyond a reasonable doubt. Now, what does that mean? It means what it means to you. The State of Texas, the legislators, have made it very unclear as to what that means. We know it means &mdash; it doesn&rsquo;t mean beyond any doubt. It doesn&rsquo;t mean beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is actually up to you each individually to determine what that means to you.<br />To make it a little bit more clear, I have an example for you. I&rsquo;m a cake person. I don&rsquo;t know about you. Cake and doughnuts, that&rsquo;s my thing. But let&rsquo;s say you bake this for your wife&rsquo;s anniversary. It&rsquo;s beautiful. And you have little kids running around, nieces, nephews, grandkids. And you say, Look, this cake, it&rsquo;s for the party tonight, don&rsquo;t touch it.<br />You leave the room, you walk back in, and this is what you see. Now, were you in the room with them? Did you see them eating cake? Did you see them touching the cake?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: No. But what do you think</p> <p>happened to the cake?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: He ate the cake.<br />MS. MENS: They ate the cake. How do you know they ate the cake?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Because it&rsquo;s on their hand and face.<br />MS. MENS: So beyond a reasonable doubt you can kind of get that they had something to do with that chocolate cake. Does everybody get that?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: What does the cake look like? With that expression, there must have been<br />two ounces in the cake.<br />(Laughter)<br />MS. MENS: Touche. Wow.<br />Ms. Perry, I haven&rsquo;t heard from you yet. What do you think happened to that cake?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I guess he ate it.<br />MS. MENS: Ate it. What about you,<br />Ms. Parks?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: He at least touched it.<br />MS. MENS: At least touched it. What we don&rsquo;t have to prove is a motive. We don&rsquo;t have to prove why the person may or may not have been in possession of marijuana. We don&rsquo;t have to prove ownership. Again, just possession. Remember the pen. We</p> <p>don&rsquo;t have to prove that the defendant is a bad person. Just because someone may have been charged with a crime or convicted of previously, it doesn&rsquo;t make them bad in any way and that&rsquo;s not our intent anyway.<br />We don&rsquo;t have to show you a videotape. We don&rsquo;t have to prove there are multiple witnesses to the<br />crime. We also have don&rsquo;t have to show you a lab test that confirms the substance is marijuana. It&rsquo;s distinctive, everyone knows what it looks like, what it smells like. So we don&rsquo;t have to have a lab test.<br />This also isn&rsquo;t about sympathy. This isn&rsquo;t a character call. This is simply did the defendant break the law or not. That&rsquo;s your only job here today.<br />Okay. Is there anyone here &mdash; we covered this a little bit, but I need an answer from every single one of you &mdash; is there anyone here who would have a problem laying judgment on the defendant if I proved every element of the offense?<br />Mr. Perry? Or, I&rsquo;m sorry, Mr. Stephenson?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Bowers?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Brubeck?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Romeo?</p> <p>PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Hill?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: This is according to the punishment fits the crime, you know. If it&rsquo;s too steep for just the small offense, you know, what I&rsquo;m saying?<br />MS. MENS: The punishment is actually going to the judge in this case. And so you know, it&rsquo;s a misdemeanor, a level B offense. The punishment is zero to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. I can come back to you if you want to think about it.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Okay.<br />THE COURT: Just so y&rsquo;all know, ladies and gentlemen, the only thing that y&rsquo;all are going to be called upon to answer, you&rsquo;re not going to be called upon to assess punishment. They&rsquo;ve made an election in the event that Ms. Asante is found guilty to come to me for punishment. So the only thing that you will be called upon to answer is whether or not she&rsquo;s guilty of possession of marijuana or not. That&rsquo;s the only thing that y&rsquo;all will be asked to answer.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Juarez?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Ms. Dickey?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.</p> <p>MS. MENS: Ms. Nichols?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Echols. No.<br />MS. MENS: Echols. Oh, I&rsquo;m sorry.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: That&rsquo;s all right.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Bosquez?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Ms. Perry?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Ms. Parks?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Miller?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Perales?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MS. MENS: Ms. Blaise-Shamai?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Ms. York?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Ms. Garrett?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Mr. Cousin?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: Ms. Mansour?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: What was your question?<br />MS. MENS: If you have a problem laying<br />judgment on the defendant if I proved every element?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes, I do.<br />MS. MENS: You would? Okay. Thank you.<br />Oh, back to you, Mr. Hill.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MS. MENS: No. Thank you. Any final thoughts, any questions? No.<br />Okay. Thank you.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Thank you.<br />THE COURT: All right. Do y&rsquo;all want to take a break?<br />VENIRE PANEL: Yes.<br />THE COURT: All right. We will break until 11:25 which will give y&rsquo;all time to go down to level P, if you want to, to obtain a Coke of any variety or water or whatever else you choose to do.<br />So with that, ladies and gentlemen, we&rsquo;re in recess. And remember the instructions I&rsquo;ve previously given you.<br />(Venire panel exits courtroom)<br />(Break taken)<br />THE COURT: Bring &rsquo;em in.<br />(Venire panel enters courtroom)<br />THE COURT: All right. Looks like all 18 of you came back. I appreciate that very much.</p> <p>Mr. Striker, I believe you&rsquo;re up.<br />MR. STRIKER: May it please the Court. I guess you&rsquo;re all doing better after that little break. Good.<br />My name is Max Striker. I&rsquo;m the defense attorney today. I&rsquo;m representing Suzanne Asante who is sitting over there.<br />The purpose of the voir dire or voir dire, however you pronounce it, or the jury selection is primarily to take a look at the prospective jurors and decide whether we have any jury bias. Obviously I don&rsquo;t want any bias against my client. And defense (sic) as well, they want a fair and balanced jury. So that&rsquo;s what the purpose of voir dire is. And that&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re asking you guys questions today.<br />All right. So I will just start off, this is a possession of marijuana case. And I know the prosecution has gone over the fact that in other states it may not be illegal to possess marijuana. But like I tell my clients, we have to deal with what the law is here in this state today. Okay.<br />So just to go over that again, is there anybody that does not understand, that feels like they would not be able to convict somebody if all the elements were proven of possession of marijuana? Anybody here in</p> <p>the first row? And the second row? I believe you said, oh, that is true. Thanks for reminding me.<br />Mr. Perales, right? You said you would not be able to render a fair and impartial bias (sic) because of how you feel about the law; is that right?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: (Nods head up and down).<br />MR. STRIKER: But everybody else said that &mdash; and raise your hand if you disagree &ndash; everyone else said that they are okay with the law as it is and they&rsquo;re able to apply the law to the facts as they are today. Is that correct, first row? Second row besides Mr. Perales? Okay. No problems there.<br />Okay. Now, is there anyone here that believes because my client is sitting there and she was arrested on this case that she is automatically guilty just because she&rsquo;s sitting there before any evidence has been shown?<br />Anybody in this first row? Let&rsquo;s start with juror number one. What&rsquo;s your name?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Zackary Stephenson.<br />MR. STRIKER: What is it? Oh, Stephenson.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah.<br />MR. STRIKER: So you understand just because she&rsquo;s sitting there doesn&rsquo;t mean she&rsquo;s guilty.</p> <p>They have to prove their case, right? They have to bring out evidence.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yep.<br />MR. STRIKER: Now, do you feel that she has to testify?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Not if she doesn&rsquo;t want to.<br />MR. STRIKER: You understand the Fifth Amendment right, right?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah.<br />MR. STRIKER: So she doesn&rsquo;t have to do anything today. It&rsquo;s all on the prosecution, right?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MR. STRIKER: What was your name, sir?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Mr. Bowers.<br />MR. STRIKER: Mr. Bowers, how do you feel about that?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Impartial.<br />MR. STRIKER: You wouldn&rsquo;t make my client testify today?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MR. STRIKER: If she felt like she wanted to invoke the Fifth Amendment right?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: She could.<br />MR. STRIKER: Okay. And you, sir,</p> <p>Mr. Brubeck?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes. I have no problem with it either way. I mean, you know, if she wants to get up there and plead her case or not, I mean, it&rsquo;s her right.<br />MR. STRIKER: Okay. So what was your name, ma&rsquo;am?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Blaise-Shamai.<br />MR. STRIKER: Blaise-Shamai. All right. So you would not think that my client has to testify today to prove her innocence or would you think she does have to testify today to prove her innocence?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: She does not.<br />MR. STRIKER: She does not. And everybody understands that principle?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MR. STRIKER: All right. Police officers. All right. So everybody here, I&rsquo;m sure, has had dealings with police officers; is that right?<br />Has anybody never dealt with a police officer?<br />Let&rsquo;s go back to juror number one, Mr. Zack Stephenson. Have you ever had to deal with a police officer?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah.<br />MR. STRIKER: Did they ever accuse you of</p> <p>anything?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah.<br />MR. STRIKER: Tell us about it.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Last spring I got arrested for falsely &mdash; false arrest of stealing a car in<br />2009.<br />MR. STRIKER: And you&rsquo;re on the jury, so I imagine there was no conviction?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No. I stepped one foot in and they figured out it wasn&rsquo;t me. Same name,<br />different middle name.<br />MR. STRIKER: So you were arrested, but you were actually innocent?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Uh-huh.<br />MR. STRIKER: So everybody understands that can happen, all right? That&rsquo;s why we have defense attorneys like me, to make sure that if the police make a mistake, we can get that corrected.<br />Now, Mr. &mdash; is it George Romeo?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Just like Shakespeare&rsquo;s play.<br />MR. STRIKER: I didn&rsquo;t want to say Romeo. We got a guy in the office we always call Romeo. But anyway, have you had an incident with a police officer before?</p> <p>PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Several traffic tickets, sure.<br />MR. STRIKER: Do you feel they were always fair?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MR. STRIKER: Why do you think &mdash; and you can give one example if you want.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I had a bright yellow shirt on with my seatbelt on and I got a ticket for no seatbelt.<br />MR. STRIKER: And they didn&rsquo;t see the belt?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Huh-uh. He claimed he didn&rsquo;t see it.<br />MR. STRIKER: So police officers can be wrong, right?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes, everyone makes mistakes.<br />MR. STRIKER: So it&rsquo;s a good time to bring up police officer testimony. If a police officer testimonies (sic) to his training and experience, you are to give more credit to his training and experience because he&rsquo;s considered a professional, right?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Absolutely.<br />MR. STRIKER: However, when you are looking at police officers as an eyewitness, his eyewitness</p> <p>testimony as to what he saw is the same as anyone else&rsquo;s eyewitness testimony as to what he saw.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: True.<br />MR. STRIKER: All right. Now, what is your name, sir?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Juarez.<br />MR. STRIKER: Juarez. Mr. Juarez, do you understand that?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MR. STRIKER: Do you feel that you could be impartial and unbiased and look at police officer testimony the same as anyone else&rsquo;s testimony in an eyewitness situation?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MR. STRIKER: You wouldn&rsquo;t favor police officer testimony simply because he is a police officer?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MR. STRIKER: And, of course, we&rsquo;re not talking about something involving training and experience, but just eyewitness testimony.<br />What was your name, ma&rsquo;am?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Martha Dickey.<br />MR. STRIKER: Ms. Dickey, how do you feel about that?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Oh, I think everybody</p> <p>makes mistakes and I could be fair with that.<br />MR. STRIKER: So everybody understands we&rsquo;re not accusing a police officer of lying, but maybe there would be a situation where he wouldn&rsquo;t see something.<br />What was your name, ma&rsquo;am?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Garrett.<br />MR. STRIKER: Ms. Garrett. Can you think of a situation where an officer might perceive something wrong, but not be lying?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Like what do you mean?<br />MR. STRIKER: I was hoping you would ask. Does anyone else have an example that they could bring up?<br />Ms. &mdash; what was your name?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Parks.<br />MR. STRIKER: Ms. Parks, have you ever had a situation where you perceived something that was not, in fact, true?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Where I did?<br />MR. STRIKER: Where you thought you saw something maybe?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I&rsquo;m sure there is. I can&rsquo;t think of it right now.<br />MR. STRIKER: Does anyone else have an example? No. All right.</p> <p>Who else has had tickets in here? A lot of people. What was your name, sir?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Richard Miller.<br />MR. STRIKER: Mr. Miller, do you feel that that ticket was fair?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MR. STRIKER: And why is that?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: It was for &mdash; from one of the red light cameras saying that I didn&rsquo;t stop.<br />MR. STRIKER: Oh, it was a camera. Okay. Right.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: And the video showed that I did.<br />MR. STRIKER: But somebody signed off on it?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Uh-huh.<br />MR. STRIKER: Anyone else have a ticket situation that they want to speak to me about?<br />What was your name?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Bosquez.<br />MR. STRIKER: Bosquez. Do you have a ticket situation where you felt it wasn&rsquo;t fair?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Not that it wasn&rsquo;t fair, no.<br />MR. STRIKER: So the whole point of that is</p> <p>simply because it&rsquo;s a police officer, no one here is going to be biased automatically for the police officer or against the police officer.<br />Is that true, Mr. Hill?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />MR. STRIKER: So you wouldn&rsquo;t be partial or impartial? I mean, you could be impartial? You wouldn&rsquo;t be partial towards a police officer or against him simply because he&rsquo;s a police officer?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MR. STRIKER: Okay. Now let&rsquo;s talk about the burden of proof. So this is a criminal case and we have the highest burden of proof in the criminal cases.<br />Now, the lower burdens of proof are down here. Down here we have reasonable suspicion burden of proof and probable cause burden of proof. That&rsquo;s enough proof to stop somebody or enough proof to arrest somebody way down here at this end, right.<br />Now, towards the middle we have civil court situations, family law type things, right. And that is preponderance of evidence or more likely than not. More than 50 percent, 51 percent something like that. But in a criminal case we have beyond a reasonable doubt. We&rsquo;re all the way up here. So I&rsquo;m going to ask you guys not to &mdash; to use the correct</p> <p>standard of proof. Don&rsquo;t go down to here, preponderance of evidence, more likely than not. Go all the way up here to beyond a reasonable doubt.<br />Now, of course, these days because of a Supreme Court decision we can&rsquo;t give you a definition of reasonable doubt. But it&rsquo;s not beyond all doubt. But it&rsquo;s beyond doubt that is reasonable.<br />And when we &mdash; when the State puts on their case today, I&rsquo;m going to ask you guys if you could please take a look at it and if you find that there is reasonable doubt, then I need you to go ahead and acquit. Thank you. Look forward to working with you.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Thank you.<br />THE COURT: All right. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to take another break to give the attorneys an opportunity to exercise their strikes. So we&rsquo;re going to break until 11:50, which will be ten minutes until 12. And remember the instructions that I have previously given you and we are in recess.<br />(Venire panel exits courtroom)<br />THE COURT: All right. We&rsquo;ll start with the State. Did y&rsquo;all have any challenges for cause?<br />MS. MENS: Pedro Perales. Sorry, number 13.</p> <p>THE COURT: All right.<br />MS. MENS: And number nine; number 18.<br />THE COURT: Hang on just a second. So tell me what is the basis for striking number nine?<br />MS. MENS: Number nine, he said that he couldn&rsquo;t be fair and impartial due to his relative&rsquo;s experience with a marijuana charge and he felt law enforcement wasn&rsquo;t fair in that situation.<br />THE COURT: That was a custody case.<br />MS. MENS: But he said that it was all based on a possession of marijuana charge.<br />MR. STRIKER: And I think later he was asked &mdash;<br />THE COURT: Hang on just a second. We&rsquo;re going to get to them first. Who else do y&rsquo;all have besides nine and 13?<br />MS. MENS: Eighteen.<br />THE COURT: All right. What&rsquo;s the basis of 18?<br />MS. MENS: She said that she wouldn&rsquo;t be able to find defendant guilty even if I proved every element of the offense. Mansour. She was the very last one.<br />THE COURT: I don&rsquo;t remember her saying that. Did she say it? Okay. All right. Who else?</p> <p>MS. MENS: Cousin, 17, number 17.<br />THE COURT: And what was the basis of 17?<br />MS. MENS: He said that he wouldn&rsquo;t be able to convict because it&rsquo;s just a small amount of marijuana.<br />THE COURT: All right. Who else?<br />MS. MENS: Same for 16.<br />THE COURT: All right. Who else?<br />MS. MENS: That&rsquo;s it.<br />THE COURT: All right. Mr. Striker.<br />MR. STRIKER: Okay. Number nine &mdash; well, first of all, we have no objections to 13 and 18 because I do believe they said that they couldn&rsquo;t be fair and impartial. The other three, I believe, all said when she asked at the end could you find the client, the defendant guilty if she proved the case, every one of them said yes except for the two we mentioned already, 18 and 13. So I think they&rsquo;ve all been rehabilitated, Your Honor.<br />THE COURT: All right. Do you have any challenges for cause?<br />MR. STRIKER: Oh, I have none.<br />THE COURT: All right. Well, I need to see number nine, Reynaldo Bosquez.<br />(Prospective Juror 9 enters courtroom)</p> <p>THE COURT: Mr. Bosquez, you understand that this case involves a possession of marijuana.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Uh-huh, yes.<br />THE COURT: Is that a yes?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />THE COURT: And the only question that if you are selected and are going to sit on this jury panel is to whether or not Ms. Asante is guilty or not guilty of intentionally or knowingly possessing a useable quantity of marijuana of two ounces or less. Do you understand that?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.<br />THE COURT: Are you telling me that you can&rsquo;t follow the law and if the State proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt, that you would not be able to find the defendant guilty?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: If not reasonable doubt?<br />THE COURT: No. If the State proved to you beyond a reasonable doubt &mdash;<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Uh-huh.<br />THE COURT: &mdash; are you saying that you could not follow the law?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes, I can follow the law.</p> <p>THE COURT: Okay. All right.<br />MR. MCMINN: May I ask a question, Your Honor?<br />THE COURT: Yes.<br />MR. MCMINN: Just to clear something up. You said, I think early on in Jade&rsquo;s voir dire, you said<br />you had like a prejudice or something about marijuana due to what happened in the family law forum. And I don&rsquo;t know if you said that or not.<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No, I did not say that.<br />MR. MCMINN: Do you have any prejudice or bias about marijuana?<br />PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.<br />MR. MCMINN: Okay. Thanks.<br />THE COURT: Mr. Striker.<br />MR. STRIKER: I have no questions, Your Honor.<br />THE COURT: All right. Thank you, sir. You can go back out in the hall.<br />(Prospective Juror 9 exits courtroom)<br />THE COURT: All right. I&rsquo;m going to deny your challenge for cause on number nine. I&rsquo;m going to grant it on 13, 16, 17 and 18. So that looks like we&rsquo;ve got one through nine, ten, 11, 12, 14 and 15 that are still available.</p> <p>So I&rsquo;m going to give y&rsquo;all another six or seven minutes to exercise your peremptory strikes.<br />MR. MCMINN: Your Honor, I don&rsquo;t think we had anybody caused through 12. I think, just to be clear, I think we&rsquo;re just through 12. I did the math differently in my head.<br />THE COURT: No, you&rsquo;re right. I just announced who was still left.<br />MR. MCMINN: I see. I&rsquo;m sorry.<br />THE COURT: I didn&rsquo;t say who &mdash; where we were going to get to.<br />MR. MCMINN: I misunderstood.<br />THE COURT: I mean, we may only get to six if y&rsquo;all choose not to exercise your strikes.<br />(Break taken)<br />(Open court, Defendant present, venire panel not present)<br />THE COURT: Are we ready to bring the jury back in?<br />MS. MENS: Yes.<br />THE COURT: All right. Let&rsquo;s bring &rsquo;em in.<br />(Venire panel enters courtroom)<br />THE COURT: Actually, ladies and gentlemen, y&rsquo;all just need to sit out there anywhere you want to. I&rsquo;m sorry. Anywhere you like.</p> <p>All right. Please be seated. All right. Looks like everybody came back. That&rsquo;s always a good<br />thing.<br />All right. Some of y&rsquo;all are going to get to go home. Does anybody have to go back to work today? No one has to go back to work today? Some of you do. Two of us. Just two?<br />All right. The rest of you, other than the six I&rsquo;m going to call, get a half day off with pay. Six bucks. Okay.<br />All right. So whenever I call your name, you can come up here and there are 18 seats. You can sit anywhere you want to. You do not &mdash; the six do not have assigned seating. So please feel free to sit anywhere you like, make yourself comfortable. And here we go.<br />Zackary Stephenson, Juan Juarez, Martha Dickey, Arvetta Echols, Stacey Perry and Vicki Parks.<br />(Jury empaneled)<br />THE COURT: Now, who is disappointed that I didn&rsquo;t call your name. Got to be somebody out there. Nobody?<br />All right. Well, I appreciate very much y&rsquo;all coming down here. As you can see, if y&rsquo;all didn&rsquo;t come down here, we wouldn&rsquo;t be able to conduct business.</p> <p>So it&rsquo;s extremely important that people show up, that you come down here. I know it&rsquo;s an inconvenience for you. I know it takes you away from your job, your families, but it is necessary for our system of justice to work for y&rsquo;all to come down here and make yourselves available to us. So with that being said, thank y&rsquo;all very much. Y&rsquo;all are free to go. And you need to go back down to the central jury room on level P.<br />(Venire panel discharged)<br />THE COURT: Y&rsquo;all can be seated, please.<br />All right. Ladies and gentlemen, I have some more instructions that I need to read to you, but I promise you they&rsquo;re half as long as what I&rsquo;ve already read to you. And just so you know, as soon as I read these to you, we will take a break for lunch and probably come back at 1:30. So that will give y&rsquo;all plenty of time, I hope, to be able to go eat and be back at 1:30. And at 1:30 we&rsquo;ll get started. And it&rsquo;s always my goal to move this case as expeditiously as possible within the bounds of justice.<br />And again, like I told y&rsquo;all earlier, if at any time while we&rsquo;re in session that you need a break, all you need to do is raise your hand, okay. So don&rsquo;t be afraid to do that. Because I understand sometimes you need a break and we will take a break accordingly.</p>
Los Abogados
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez