Casey Anthony judge brings in new jury pool, 16 retained

By Jacqueline Fell, Adam Longo and Jason Lanning, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Friday, May 20, 2011

Judge Belvin Perry has a new plan to finalize the jury for Casey Anthony's murder trial.

On the 10th day of jury selection Thursday, he managed to retain five more jurors, enough for a full jury of 12, plus four alternates.

But no one has been sworn in yet, and the judge's new plan included bringing in brand new faces Thursday afternoon. He retained nine new jurors for questioning from a pool of 30.

The defense still has the option to back strike one of those jurors, and the state of Florida can still strike as many as three.


Jury selection by the numbers
Round 2
  • 16 of 66 jurors retained (21%)
  • 9 previously retained jurors struck
Round 1
  • 78 of 230 jurors retained for questioning (34%)
  • 50 other jurors immediately dismissed for discussing the case
  • Compare Demographics: Pinellas County vs. Orange County


Less than 24 hours after jury selection came to an abrupt halt Wednesday afternoon, Casey Anthony, her lead attorney, Jose Baez, and the rest of her defense team returned to the courtroom, without a word about what happened the day before.

Baez had said the early adjournment was "due to a private matter," but on Thursday morning, no one in the courtroom addressed it at all.

The court day began with only 11 jurors retained, and 15 left in the jury pool. Right off the bat, Judge Perry immediately excused four who expressed financial hardship to him on Wednesday, knocking the pool down to 11 jurors left to question.

Of those 11, eight people were questioned from the original jury pool. The rest were on standby Thursday, so Judge Perry managed to secure a brand new pool of potential jurors, which he brought in after lunch.

This time, however, he did things a little differently to speed up the process.

"I will ask right out of the box about hardships," said Perry. "You know once I ask that question, and the hands start going up, it's like a self-contained virus on an airplane: Everyone gets it, except for a few."

If everything goes Perry's way, the Casey Anthony trial will begin Monday morning in Orlando with opening statements.

But as we've seen in the last two weeks, anything could happen between now and Monday morning.


Thursday's juror interviews
1. Juror No. 3131 -- Excused

The first juror called, a woman, was quickly dismissed after she said as a daycare provider, the story of Caylee Anthony's murder did not sit well with her. She said she already believed Casey was guilty, and could not set that aside, apologizing to the judge.

He told her she did not need to be sorry, and thanked her for being truthful about her feelings about the case.

2. Juror No. 3310 -- Retained

Next, a 57-year-old man was called, saying he only remembered only a few details about the case: "Something about a murder."

He told the judge he has not formed an opinion on Casey, and believes everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

He was ultimately retained after less than an hour of questioning, with no challenges from either side, bringing the juror total back up to 12.

3. Juror No. 3016 -- Retained

The third juror, a male, teaches physical education and health to high-schoolers. He admitted believing Casey was guilty early on in the case, but told the judge he was confident he could set that aside if chosen for this trial.

When Baez asked the juror how he would be able to set aside his original opinion, he said his experience as a teacher would help. The man said he has heard other teachers "badmouth" some students, but he has always given each one he has taught a clean slate, so he could form his own opinions.

The juror also admitted it would be difficult for him to vote for the death penalty, but also said he could do his duty in the context of Judge Perry's instructions. The man was ultimately retained without challenge.

4. Juror No. 3140 -- Retained

Next, a woman with two adult children said she has heard very little about Casey Anthony. She told the judge she does not watch the news often, and doesn't have a computer or cable TV.

The juror said she was for the death penalty, telling defense attorney Ann Finnell she would rate herself the highest number on a scale of one to 10. But she also added she could consider mitigating factors such as mercy, age, character and background.

The woman also said she has no problem presuming Casey innocent until proven guilty, and had not formed her own opinion yet. She was retained without challenge.

5. Juror No. 3093 -- Retained

This woman, a 48-year-old surgical technician, was questioned Thursday afternoon. She said she was not very interested in the news, and only remembered a little about the case, but said she can presume Casey to be innocent.

The juror agreed to hold the state to its burden of proving Casey innocent until proven guilty, and said she would be able to vote for either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole, if one or the other is warranted. Neither side challenged, and this juror was retained.

6. Juror No. 3281 -- Retained

The next woman questioned manages an information technology project for Pinellas County, but she later said she was not very computer literate. She recalled several specific details about Casey and the search and discovery of Caylee, but said she could set aside what she heard if chosen.

The juror later revealed she had lost a child, and also discussed the loss of her mother in a sidebar. The defense challenged for cause based on what was said during that sidebar, but Judge Perry denied it, retaining a 16th juror.

7. Juror No. 3178 -- Excused

Judge Perry quickly excused the next woman after she said she was against the death penalty, and nothing would change her mind on that.

8. Juror No. 3178 -- Excused

The final woman questioned Thursday was dismissed for the opposite reason: She told Judge Belvin Perry, "I firmly believe [Casey] is guilty," and said she would not be able to put aside what she has already heard about the case.