Highest court halts secret Kennebunk jury selection
On Thursday, January 24th, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court overturned a trial judge's decision to question potential jurors in private in the case of State v. Strong (the so-called Zumba trial). Preti Flaherty Attorneys Sigmund Schutz and Ben Piper, who represent The Portland Press Herald, filed a motion on behalf of Maine Today Media with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court challenging the constitutionality of closing the jury selection proceedings to the public.
The Supreme Court first issued an urgent order that the trial judge put the jury selection process on hold. Later that same day, the Court issued a 6-1 decision to open the remainder of the process to the public and provide transcripts of the private jury selection sessions that began earlier this week.
The Supreme Court ordered the trial judge to put the jury selection process on hold. It also ordered her to open the remainder of the process to the public and provide transcripts of the private jury selection sessions that began earlier this week.
According to Sigmund Schutz, "This is a precedent-setting decision. I'm not sure it's a practice that's ever been challenged before in Maine. Jury selection is an incredibly important part of a criminal trial," he said. "It's a vital First Amendment value that we have public trials in this country."
To learn more about this case, the full articles are available here:
- The Portland Press Herald: "Highest court halts secret Kennebunk jury selection"
- Associated Press (Published by Boston Globe): "Judge must open jury selection in Maine Zumba case"