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Selecting a Barry Bonds Jury Won't be Easy

By Jason Beahm on March 21, 2011 10:47 AM

It's not going to be a simple matter to seat a jury in the Barry Bonds case. San Francisco Judge Susan Illston is facing that problem as she prepares to attempt to seat 16 jurors from San Francisco to decide the fate of all time home run king and former Giant Barry Bonds, The New York Times reports.

Bonds has been charged with knowingly lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 about his suspected use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs. He is not charged with using the drugs, only for lying about using them.

"I don't think you'll see a lot of prospective jurors calling him a hero because all the publicity about Bonds since his retirement has been negative," said Howard Varinsky, a jury consultant based in the Bay Area, The New York Times reports. Bonds' team and federal prosecutors have argued in favor of limiting the release of information during the trial. Journalists, including the Associated Press, have contended the trial should be open, including jury selection. Journalists want access to everything, including the juror questionnaires.

Judge Susan Illston has heard arguments on publicity but has not ruled. She is likely to include some restrictions, purportedly to ensure a fair trial.

So how will the Judge Susan Illston seat 16 people who aren't already biased about the case? It might not be as difficult as it sounds. There are 815,358 people in San Francisco with a very wide range of interests. Quite likely, there are more than 16 people that aren't even aware that there is a baseball team in the city.

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