370 jury duty summons sent as jury selection begins in Justin Ro - CBS46 News

370 jury duty summons sent as jury selection begins in Justin Ross Harris trial

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Justin Ross Harris in court. (Source: WGCL) Justin Ross Harris in court. (Source: WGCL)
COBB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

The jury selection process is underway in the Justin Ross Harris trial. Harris is charged with murder in the death of his 22-month-old son. Authorities say Harris left his son in the back of a hot car all day while he was at work.

Harris entered the Cobb County Superior Courtroom shaking the hands with his three defense attorneys. The first part of his trial started Monday with attorneys choosing the jury.

"Okay we are ready to begin the jury selection process in the case of the State of Georgia versus Justin Ross Harris," Superior Court Judge Mary Staley announced.

Eleven potential jurors submitted hardship letters asking to be excused or deferred for several different reasons.

"I have trip planned to Lexington, Kentucky," one juror said.

A number of jurors had both personal and work-related travel conflicts.

"I have a vacation planned this weekend with my daughter, my girl and her mother. Her mother has stage four cancer and we are trying to take a vacation with her in case anything happens," another juror said.

Most of the requests were denied. The judge and attorneys agreed to work around their trips to still have them included in the jury pool.

Two people were excused. One person is out of the country, while the other has travel plans to Paris scheduled since last year.

"This is my wife and I's 40th wedding anniversary and we are planning on going to Paris," one juror said. "We booked the trip in November of last year and we have considerable amount of money invested in this thing for a 14-day trip."

A total of 370 jury duty summons were sent out for this trial. The rest of the jurors will come to court to be sworn in on Tuesday. Then they will have to fill out a 17-page questionnaire. After reviewing those, the attorneys will begin questioning and selecting jurors to sit on the trial.  

The jury selection process could take a couple of weeks.

A former DeKalb County judge tells CBS46 News that picking the jury will be extremely difficult because of all of the media attention the case has received over the past two years.

"People talk about picking a fair and impartial jury but that's not what the lawyers are trying to do at all," said CBS46 Legal Analyst Keegan Federal. "The fact of the matter is, they're trying to find very partial jurors. Partial to their side of the case."

Sources close to the case say there is a distinct chance the trial could be moved to a different part of the state if there aren't enough qualified jurors to be found in Cobb County.

Copyright 2016 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved. 

  • Justin Ross Harris

    Justin Ross Harris

    Click here for complete coverage on Justin Ross Harris, the man accused of leaving his 22-month-old son in the car to die. More >
    Click here for complete coverage on Justin Ross Harris, the man accused of leaving his 22-month-old son in the car to die. More >

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