The Associated Press reports today that over 1,000 jury summonses will be issued for the Qwest trial of Joe Nacchio. Experts predict that it will be a tough but not impossible job to find impartial jurors. The Judge has already ruled that no one who was employed by Qwest or owns Qwest stock can be a juror. According to jury selection experts Bob Hirschhorn and Howard Varinsky, here are some of the factors:
For the prosecution, it could be schoolteachers, government workers or home-care workers – conservative investors who are not involved in the competitive business world, Hirschhorn said. They likely would own little to no stock, choosing instead to invest in money markets or Treasury notes because they are more content with the status quo and less likely to dig deeper for information, he said. Varinsky….believes prosecutors may look for jurors who have lost money in the stock market….Varinsky said the defense will look for people who understand the complexities of the financial world who may be more likely to accept that there is merit to a defense explanation of the stock stales. ….Nacchio’s attorneys, Hirschhorn said, will have to overcome years of negative publicity about Qwest as they look for jurors who pay attention to detail – the type who balance their checkbooks down to the dollar. “Those who look for the needle in the haystack, that’s what the defense wants,” he said.
So, according to the experts, a sophisticated stock investor would be better for the defense while a novice or someone uninterested in the financial world would be better for the prosecution. I suspect that a lot of the summonsed jurors won’t know a thing about Joe Nachhio. I also think the greater problem in jury selection will be in finding people who are able to sit on an 8 week trial. They may end up with a lot of retirees, whom I think will be better for the Government. Jury selection begins March 19.