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Ahmaud Arbery Tag

Today the jury heard the last of argument and received their jury instructions in the Arbery case trial, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Roddy Bryan are each facing a count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, and then the four predicate felony counts (two for aggravated assault and two for false imprisonment). In the interests of keeping our coverage somewhat orderly, I’m going to address each of the day’s major events—the closing rebuttal of ADA Linda Dunikoski and the reading of the instructions to the jury by Judge Timothy Walmsley—separately.  I covered the Dunikoski rebuttal in my previous piece of content, so here I’ll cover Judge Walmsley’s instruction of the jury.

Today the jury heard the last of argument and received their jury instructions in the Arbery case trial, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Roddy Bryan are each facing a count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, and then the four predicate felony counts (two for aggravated assault and two for false imprisonment). In the interests of keeping our coverage somewhat orderly, I’m going to address each of the day’s major events—the closing rebuttal of ADA Linda Dunikoski and the reading of the instructions to the jury by Judge Timothy Walmsley—separately.  Here I’ll cover Dunikoski’s rebuttal.

Welcome to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case trial, in which Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Ryan" Bryan are on trial on charges of murder and other felonies over the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020 in Brunswick GA.   This is our VERDICT WATCH post, where we will share any fast-breaking news on verdicts and other events around the jury deliberations which begin today.

Today was the first of two days of closing arguments in the Ahmaud Arbery case trial, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Roddy Bryan are each facing a count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, and then the four predicate felony counts (two for aggravated assault and two for false imprisonment). So as not to bury the lede, the take-home message is that if I were being asked to render a verdict today, after listening to the State’s closing and all of the defense closing (but not yet the State’s rebuttal), and having not seen any of the actual trial, I’d be obliged to acquit all three defendants of all charges.

Welcome to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case trial! We will share any fast-breaking news on today's closing arguments, as well as any verdicts and events around the jury deliberations which may begin today. (When deliberations start we will have a new VERDICT WATCH post.  (If you're unfamiliar with this case, scroll down for background information.)

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the ninth group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people. The near-term goal is to have 64 “qualified” prospective jurors to be distilled down to the final 16 seated jurors in the third stage of jury selection. As of this morning, 47 prospective jurors had been “qualified.”

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, with day 9 of jury selection, or voir dire, for the trial of Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Roddy" Bryan on murder and other charges over the death of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020. Today we expect the jury selection process, or voir dire, to continue with a new group, the ninth group to date, of 20 prospective jurors subject to general voir dire this morning, followed by individual voir dire of members of that group in the afternoon, as has been the pattern throughout last week. The media is reporting that as of yesterday afternoon there have been about 47 prospective jurors who have made it through general and individual voir dire, and who are said to have been "qualified" for yet a third level of voir dire. That's an increase of 5 from the previous day, which in turn gained 6 over to the day prior.  Judge Walmsley reportedly wants 64 prospective jurors "qualified" in this manner, to allow for that third level of voir dire that will ultimately distill that group to the 12 jurors and 4 alternates needed for trial.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the eighth group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people. The near-term goal is to have 64 “qualified” prospective jurors to be distilled down to the final 16 seated jurors in a third stage of jury selection. As of this morning, 42 prospective jurors had been “qualified.” The court also began discussing with the attorneys the procedure to be used for the final, stage 3, voir dire of the final group of 64 “qualified” prospective jurors.  In particular, there appeared to be some uncertainty about exactly how that stage 3 of voir dire would be conducted, given the sheer number of “qualified” prospective jurors to deal with.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, with day 8 of jury selection, or voir dire, for the trial of Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Roddy" Bryan on murder and other charges over the death of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020. Today we expect the jury selection process, or voir dire, to continue with a new group, the eighth group to date, of 20 prospective jurors subject to general voir dire this morning, followed by individual voir dire of members of that group in the afternoon, as has been the pattern throughout last week. The media is reporting that so far there have been about 42 prospective jurors who have made it through general and individual voir dire, and who are said to have been "qualified" for yet a third level of voir dire. Judge Walmsley reportedly wants 64 prospective jurors "qualified" in this manner, to allow for that third level of voir dire that will ultimately distill that group to the 12 jurors and 4 alternates needed for trial.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the seventh group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people.

Key Findings of Today’s General Voir Dire

Of particular note from today’s general voir dire:
  • A majority (60%) of the prospective jurors indicated that they had already formed an opinion about the guilt of the defendants.
  • An even larger majority (70%) indicated they had formed negative feelings towards one or more of the defendants (usually, to all three defendants).
  • Nearly half of (45%) had a relative or close friend in law enforcement.
  • Ironically enough, the same proportion (45%) had also had a relative or close friend who had been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of a serious crime.
  • The same proportion (45%), again, believed that people of color were not treated fairly by the criminal justice system or, generally, police.
  • Interestingly, that same proportion (45%) also indicated that they had some life event that would prevent them from giving their full attention to the trial—this is basically a “don’t pick me for jury duty” question.
  • Fully 40% of the prospective jurors indicated that they were concerned that whatever verdict they might arrive at would cause them considerable strife in their lives, work, family, community, etc.

Today I anticipate the court will begin with a new group, the seventh group to date, of 20 prospective jurors subject to general voir dire this morning, followed by individual voir dire of members of that group in the afternoon, as has been the pattern...

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the sixth group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the fifth group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people (note that there was no jury selection conducted this past Friday, as the court was in recess for the day due to some personal conflict of one of the lawyers involved in the case).
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