BALTIMORE -- Approximately 75 new candidates arrived in court Tuesday morning to be evaluated as potential jurors for the first of the six trials related to the arrest and death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while he was in police custody in April.
The final jury will be selected for the trial on Wednesday morning. The two sides will be allowed to use their four "strikes," and the jury selection will take place in open court. It is then expected, but not certain, that the trial and oral arguments will begin that afternoon.
It rained heavily Tuesday, and there were no protests to be seen or heard in the morning as court got underway.
The judge asked potential jurors the same questions he asked Monday -- whether anyone was unfamiliar with the case, the curfew imposed on the city during the protests, or the civil settlement Gray's family will receive.
Only one woman was unaware of the settlement. On Monday, every one of the possible jurors was aware of the things brought up by the judge.
Two potential jurors said they knew Freddie Gray. The judge has not yet dismissed any of Tuesday's round of jurors. Those of the approximately 80 who were dismissed Monday received their notifications on paper, so the press would not know how many have been dismissed. The two who knew Gray will almost certainly eliminated by the judge or the defense.
Sixty percent of the potential jurors said they have been victims of a crime, charged with a crime, arrested, or have charges pending against them.
Twenty-eight percent of the potential jurors said they have strong feelings about police misconduct in office (but those in the court don't know what those feelings are).
The group was evenly split between men and women with a range of ages. The pool Tuesday was closer to the 60/40, black/white racial make-up of the city. The most striking feature of this group is that it is solidly middle class. In a city where 23.8 percent live below the poverty level, this pool does not reflect that statistic.
But the absence of poor on this jury may reflect the fact that those who are eligible to serve on juries must be registered to vote or drive. And those who live below the poverty line may have a harder time physically showing up for jury duty. Porter is a young, middle-class, black male, so this jury pool reflects his peer group even if it may not reflect the city as a whole or the area where this alleged crime played out.
During the course of the day, the judge will take individual potential jurors to a conference room to discuss their biases and ability to serve. This is expected to take the rest of the day. The earliest the trial will begin is Wednesday. And the judge repeated that this case will not go beyond Dec 17.