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O.J. Simpson jury pool narrowed on second day

Updated Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008 | 7:13 p.m.

After two days of questioning, Judge Jackie Glass has 12 prospective jurors selected for O.J. Simpson’s upcoming criminal trial.

An additional 28 prospective jurors still need to be identified before the final jury formation process can begin. The trial will form its 12-member jury from a collection of 40 candidates. Six additional alternate jury members will be selected from the group.

Simpson and his former golfing buddy, Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, of North Las Vegas, face a dozen kidnapping, robbery and weapons-related charges stemming from the alleged raid of two memorabilia dealers’ Palace Station hotel room last fall.

Both men could spend the rest of their lives behind bars if found guilty.

Jury selection began Monday at the Regional Criminal Justice Center as 85 possible jurors were called in for questioning. Along with lawyers for the prosecution and defense, Glass has been questioning prospects for the past two days to determine their suitability.

By the time court adjourned for the day Tuesday at about 5:30 p.m., Glass had decided 12 of those questioned would be suitable jurors.

As it stands, the short list includes 10 women and two men. Of the women, six are white, one is black, two are Latino and one is of Asian descent. Both of the men are white.

The jury pool began with 500 people. A pretrial survey eliminated 252 of those, leaving 248 prospective jurors in the group.

The prosecution and defense each have eight pre-emptive challenges to use regarding jurors. Either side can exercise a pre-emptive challenge -- and effectively remove the individual in question from the jury -- if it feels a candidate is unsuitable.

Both sides also have three additional challenges to use to eject prospective alternate jurors. Simpson was given two of the defense’s three pre-emptive challenges, while Stewart’s lawyers control the third.

Glass is the first to question prospective jurors. Her questions are generally basic, dealing with topics such as occupation, marital status and how long candidates have lived in the area. She also asks them if they have served on a jury and if they or any of their family members have been charged with a crime.

Potential jurors also are asked if there is any reason why they wouldn't be able to be a fair and unbiased jury member, including perceptions of the guilt or innocence of those accused.

One potential juror was released Tuesday after she said she couldn’t say whether she felt Simpson had killed his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in 1994.

Lawyers for both the prosecution and the defense quiz the candidates after Glass ends her questioning.

Stewart’s attorneys, Robert Lucherini and Charles D. Jones, repeatedly asked jurors to consider their client’s innocence or possible guilt separate from that of Simpson.

“Mere association is not a crime,” Lucherini said.

Meanwhile, both of Simpson’s lawyers urged jurors to forget about what they might have previously thought about their client.

“Make a decision based on what happens here,” Yale Galanter said.

Jury selection is expected to continue through the end of the week.

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