Jury selection starts March 8. But no matter how long it takes, the opening arguments for the trial won’t start until March 29.
The judge and attorneys will already have some information about each person from a questionnaire, answers reflecting their knowledge of the case, media habits and police contacts.
During the questioning, either side can ask Judge Cahill to dismiss the juror “for cause” – if there is a clear reason that they cannot be a fair juror for this case.
If a potential juror is not dismissed “for cause,” then each side will have to decide whether they want to use one of their “peremptory challenges” to strike that person. Prosecutors have nine peremptory challenges, and Chauvin’s defense team has 15.
If the other side suspects a peremptory challenge has been used to discriminate based on race, ethnicity or sex, they can issue what’s called a “Batson challenge.” The judge will then decide whether the juror should stay or not. There is no limit on the number of times this challenge can be raised.
Once 16 potential jurors have been questioned and passed through without a challenge, then they are seated as the jury for the murder trial – 12 jurors and four alternates.
No matter how quickly jury selection goes, testimony for Chauvin’s trial will not begin before March 29.
The identities of the jurors will stay secret throughout the trial, and remain so until a later date when Judge Cahill decides it is safe for them to be revealed.