The Schleicher County makeshift courthouse was most definitely not a media circus this morning for the first day of Raymond Jessop’s trial. Both journalists and live camera crews were sparse. I attribute most of the lack of interest to two things, no cameras are allowed in the courtroom for any part of this trial, and the media doesn’t think the county can really seat a jury anyway.
Brook Adams of the Salt Lake Tribune was right behind me as I pulled into the parking lot. Soon afterwards a friend informed me that she had just Tweeted “The Triplap lady is here, smoking furiously”.
People wonder why some question her journalistic integrity. She knows my name. The only story she ever covered regarding the AAAP was our initial incorporation as an organization last February, and check out the language she used for the title of that particular blog entry, “New Group Attacks Polygamy”.
Polygamy is a felony in all 50 states of our union. I wonder when the last time an organization was formed to bring attention to criminal activity they got a headline like that, from an objective reporter.
I saw Willie Jessop try to go in but they were only allowing potential jurors and legal staff. Latter they admitted some print journalists.
The jury pool reporting to the courthouse was comprised of 153 potential jurors. In my estimation, fully 25% of those who showed up were FLDS members. After the raid their self declared spokesperson, Willie Jessop made the comment, “I don’t want to have to vote but if I have to I will”.
Soon after the rescue the residents of the YFZ Ranch requested 400 voters’ registration cards from the county and it showed today.
As long as the AG is asking questions of all these potential jurors, how about a few of these:
Were you a resident of the YFZ Ranch at the time of the rescue?
Do you know Raymond Jessop?
Are you in any way related to Raymond Jessop?
Are you, any of your relatives or acquaintances in Schleicher County currently committing the felony crime of Bigamy, which is the anti-polygamy statute within the state of Texas?
Were you, anyone you are related to or personally acquainted with one of the 124 designated perpetrators of child abuse on the YFZ Ranch, as identified by the final Texas CPS report?
I figure the potential jury pool should be down to about 100 jurors if the AG asks any of those questions.
Can a jury of 14 [12 jurors and 2 alternates] be seated in the county?
I have no doubt that 14 people who would give the case a fair hearing can be identified from the pool but I am unsure what standards will be in place as to how much media exposure either side will tolerate.
If no jury is seated, it will likely be December before another jury pool in adjoining Tom Green County can be called, since a notice for jury duty must be sent out 30 days in advance.