Judge Looks at Media Effect on Possible Jurors for Hastings Trial

Ar Local
LITTLE ROCK, AR — The manslaughter trial for a former Little Rock police officer continued on Tuesday. 

Josh Hastings is accused of wrongfully causing the death of a 15-year-old robbery suspect in August of last year.

This is his second go around following a mistrial in June that ended with a hung jury.

In the second day of the trial, there still seems to be a long way to go as a focus on exposure to the case through the media has prolonged the jury selection process.

One by one, members of the two combined jury pools made their way to the bench to answer questions from the judge himself.

There were questions like does the fact that Hastings was a police officer at the time of this incident affect how you view this case and whether they could view Hastings as not a police officer.

“You’d have to be braindead not to understand that he was a police officer at the time,” said Bill James, Hastings’ defense attorney. “That’s a fact of the case. Whatever happens in this case, there’s no way someone on this jury’s not gonna know that.”

But the primary focus in the first two days of jury selection was the effect media attention to the case has had on the more than 60 remaining potential jury members.

Judge Wendell Griffen committed to speaking with 23 of the ones who say they’ve heard or read something about the case, and brought each one out of ear shot of the rest to share what they know and how it’s affected them.

“The judge has got reasons for what he does, and our job is to play with the jurors that we end up with,” James said.

Because in the end, James said there is one primary objective now.

“If you have someone that’s gonna look at the facts and look at the law and apply them honestly, that’s all we can ask for,” James said.

State prosecution won’t comment with the trial under way.

They say there’s no deadline for this process as they hope history doesn’t repeat itself with a hung jury back in June.

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