After four long days and a marathon court session into the night Thursday, a jury has been seated in the O.J. Simpson trial on armed robbery and kidnapping charges.
The jury of three men and nine women, along with six alternates, will return to court Monday for opening statements in the trial of Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart, who are charged with holding up two sports memorabilia dealers in September 2007 in a Palace Station hotel room.
The panel is comprised of 10 white jurors and two Hispanic jurors. Two of the alternate jurors are black.
Simpson was involved in the selection of the panel, poring over jury questionnaires and whispering to his attorneys as they finalized their decisions.
During breaks in the process, however, Simpson was relaxed, discussing Saturday’s University of Southern California vs. Ohio State football game with reporters and reading a newspaper sports section.
District Judge Jackie Glass prodded lawyers through the jury selection process in hopes of picking the panel by Thursday. She pushed through lunch to finish voir dire questioning of potential jurors by mid-afternoon, leaving a pool of 40 potential jurors for lawyers to cut down to 18.
Defense lawyers fought to keep two other black jurors in the group after prosecutors tried to remove them in the final phase of jury selection, the peremptory challenges.
Peremptory challenges allow prosecutors and defense lawyers to remove potential jurors without giving a reason, but a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court case, Batson vs. Kentucky, prohibits the dismissal of jurors because of their race.
Lawyers for Simpson and Stewart challenged the removal of the jurors under the Batson case, saying prosecutors were systematically eliminating black jurors from the jury.
The first challenge involved a fifth-grade school teacher and church pastor who has worked in prison ministry.
District Attorney David Roger said the woman seemed to be "forgiving by nature" and unsure if she wanted to sit on the jury.
Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter accused prosecutors of systematically removing the only black juror who, at that time, was the only black person among the first 12 potential jurors.
"The systematic requirement is met because this is the one bite of the apple," Galanter said.
Glass denied the challenge.
"Through the last four days, there has been no evidence to me that the state has made a purposeful effort to discriminate against African-American jurors," she said.
A short time later, prosecutors wanted to excuse another black woman from the jury pool.
The bookkeeper was a devout Christian who had written in her juror questionnaire that she couldn’t send anyone to jail, Roger said.
She had also said she believed her brother was wrongfully convicted of child abuse in the mid-1980s, he said.
Defense lawyers renewed their challenge, which was again rejected by Glass.
Outside the courthouse, Galanter said the rejected Batson challenges could eventually lead to appeals.
But first, the trial.
"I’ve been confident from day one," he said. "I don’t think my client did anything wrong. I don’t think my client broke any laws."
Contact reporter Brian Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0281. The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.Slideshow