Judge closes Duncan jury selection to press, public - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Judge closes Duncan jury selection to press, public

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Joseph E. Duncan III Joseph E. Duncan III

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A judge ruled that jury selection in the triple murder trial of Joseph Edward Duncan will be closed to the public and press to ensure the registered sex offender gets a fair trail.

First District Judge Fred Gibler ruled that Duncan's constitutional right to a fair trial is in jeopardy because of the immense public interest. He says Duncan's right to a fair trial outweighs the press to cover jury selection. The 43-year-old Duncan is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping and faces the death penalty if convicted.

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys argued that the sensitive nature of jury selection would be compromised if potential jurors knew that their answers to questions were being broadcast to the public.

An unprecedented 800 potential jurors have been summoned for the trial slated to begin Monday. The judge denied a request by Joel Hazel, a lawyer representing The Spokesman-Review newspaper, to keep open all parts of the criminal trial.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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