The going has been slow so far this morning. Eight of the 30 prospective jurors called in today in the Duncan death penalty proceedings were dismissed right off, based on their responses to jury questionnaires. Then, the attorneys began individual questioning of the 22 remaining, who include 10 women and 12 men. In the first two hours, they’ve gotten through only three. Two of the three were dismissed based on challenges from the defense, one after he said the death penalty was the only appropriate penalty for crimes such as Joseph Duncan’s. The third was challenged by the defense but U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge overruled the challenge. Yesterday, of 28 prospective jurors brought in, 13 were dismissed for cause, leaving just 15. The process will continue until 59 eligible jurors have been selected. Then, each side can exercise peremptory challenges to bring the number down to 12 jurors and three alternates.
Just like yesterday, Duncan is attired in rumpled yellow prison-issue scrubs, though his attorneys wanted him to appear in civilian clothing. It’s the only visible sign of a rift between the convicted murderer and his attorneys, with whom he’s been visiting easily between proceedings and sharing an occasional laugh. Tomorrow morning, Judge Lodge will consider Duncan’s request to serve as his own lawyer for his death penalty sentencing proceedings.