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Finding impartial jury for Karen Read murder trial will be "long road" law expert says

Finding impartial jury in Karen Read trial will be challenge, experts say
Finding impartial jury in Karen Read trial will be challenge, experts say 02:48

DEDHAM - It's the name and trial most people beyond Norfolk County know about: Karen Read.

On Tuesday, she will walk through a barricaded Norfolk Superior Courthouse on trial for second degree murder in the death of her boyfriend Boston police officer John O'Keefe in January 2022.

"Everybody, everyplace, everyone you start to talk to, they're talking about this," said Carla Foley in Dedham.

"Of course, I think everybody knows about it, it's not a mystery anymore," said Lirio Potts from New Hampshire. "I couldn't be a good juror because I know about it, so I'm kind of biased."

Finding an unbiased jury

As jury selection starts, the question is if so many people have their own thoughts, theories or opinions about the case, can a jury from the public be impartial?

That's why law experts say the challenge for the jury will be proving they can be unbiased in the widely polarizing case.

"The influence of media, social media, the sidebars with the turtle blogger. All the information that's been going back and forth from the DA's office and the defense team, I think it's going to be a long road to pick an impartial jury," said Suffolk University Law Professor Christopher Dearborn.

Karen Read appears in Norfolk County Superior Court for a pre-trial hearing on May 23, 2023.  John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Prosecutors will try to prove their case claiming that Read got drunk then ran over O'Keefe, leaving him to die in a friend's yard in Canton.

Then the defense is expected to maintain that Read is the victim of a police coverup, and they hope to find out from a judge if they can shift the blame for O'Keefe's murder to three other men.

Trial could last seven weeks  

A trial process that could last seven weeks, which could be another challenge according to experts.

"If you have a seven-week trial, you're going to run the risk of boring people and putting people to sleep. It doesn't matter how sensational it is," said Dearborn.

And those who live in the middle of it all are bracing for a circus.

"I just hope justice is served for either one-whatever it is," said Foley.

Experts say it can take multiple days to pick a jury because both sides are allowed to excuse up to 16 potential jurors just for no reason at all. 

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