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Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial

Jury selection begins tomorrow in the murder trial of Eric Rudolph, charged with setting a bomb outside of an Alabama abortion clinic in 1998 which killed a police officer. 500 jurors have been summoned to a ballroom where they will fill out questionniares. Individual questioning of jurors is expected to begin in May.

The defense team is led by the great Judy Clarke. Judy also represented the Unabomber Ted Kaczinski, and got a life sentence, beating the death penalty, for Susan Smith, who drowned her two sons and then invented a black male to blame the deaths on. She also served on the Zacarias Moussaoui team for a while, until Rudolph was arrested. Judy is a federal defender and death penalty expert from Spokane and a past President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)

Issues that will be raised during trial:

• Whether tainted evidence was used to link Rudolph to the deadly Birmingham clinic blast.
• Apparent problems at a now-closed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lab that tested evidence in Rockville, Md.
• Whether a model of the bomb reconstructed from fragments found at the Birmingham clinic and in the bodies of the two victims is accurate.

Rudolph was captured after spending five years in hiding as a "mountain man." He is far more relaxed these days, even though he is facing a potential death sentence.

Rudolph's demeanor was in stark contrast to his initial court appearances following his arrest in 2003. Back then, he seemed to stare through walls, people - anything that fell in the way of his cold gaze. But Rudolph was noticeably different during a four-day hearing on scientific evidence this past week, showing glimpses of personality unseen in past court appearances.

"Hey, Michael," Rudolph said with a slight smile to defense lawyer Michael Burt upon entering court one day.

"How's it going?" Burt answered.

"Good," responded Rudolph, who faces the death penalty if convicted of setting off a bomb that killed a police officer outside an Alabama abortion clinic in 1998.

Rudolph has other charges pending as well.

Besides the Birmingham bombing, Rudolph is accused in the fatal bombing at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and a pair of bombings in the Atlanta area in 1997.

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  • Re: Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 09:00:52 PM EST
    OK, everyone who is charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proved guilty, but if Rudolf is gulity of the crimes that he has been charged with, then he deserves the full measure of punishment the law allows. On a related note, it would appear that, of all the people held in jails at home or abroad during the Bush administration, Eric Rudolf would appear to be the only one that is a living, breathing, terrorist.

    Re: Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 07:09:30 AM EST
    Judy is an example of how the left holds to it's standards. None of this begging off of her job because "she has moral issues with performing it" That said, Judy - I'm hoping for life in prison for him (tempting and salacious as the thought of him on death row is). You go gurl!

    Re: Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 07:36:52 AM EST
    Here is another guy that has had his name plastered over every newspaper as "the bomber", how in the hell can he get a fair trial?????

    Re: Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:18:58 PM EST
    jlvngstn, he'd have had a much better chance had he chosen not to head for the american jungle to hide. such actions are generally considered consciousness of guilt. a suspect who makes himself a lone gunman, mountain man, god fearing hero by heading into the woods to avoid standing up like a man and taking responsibility, well, he'll get as fair a trial as he seems to have wanted for himself.

    Re: Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:49:15 PM EST
    Dadler, then let's skip the trial and hang him. Ridiculous. The right to a fair trial should apply to every American irrespective of their political beliefs and crimes, and Rudoplh has absolutely no shot at a fair trial. Our process of identifying and villifying suspects who are innocent until proven guilty needs to stop soon.....

    Re: Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial (none / 0) (#6)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 04:24:23 PM EST
    jlvngstn, did i say anything resembling he should just be hung, trial be damned? of course he should have a fair trial. OF COURSE!!! now, on to debating that which is actually debatable: i was simply making the point that rudolph had a great deal to do with his own "fame" and media "celebrity" by hiding in the woods as a survivalist/terrorist on the lamb, hence making an ideally "fair" trial even tougher for him. i have no problem with making our system like britain's, where the media is forbidden from speculating and sensationalizing pretrial and during the trial. i think our circus atmosphere is just that. but we have to deal with it for now, and, generally, the most high-profile cases these days (note i said most, not all) get the closest scrutiny. chances are decent he'll get a MORE fair trial, because everyone IS watching. and because the abortion issue is SO divisive and emotionally inflammatory.

    Re: Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:45:11 AM EST
    I am with ya dadler, was merely pointing out the endgame of the media circus. That said, people go into hiding all the time when faced with criminal charges and I do not blame them. When one feels that they are not going to get a fair trial and they run (it is a bad decision) they should not be villified as they are in this country. Running is not indicative of guilt or innocence and should inasmuch that confessions are not always proof of guilt.

    Re: Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 12:26:30 PM EST
    Rethuglicanspeak: He cannot be a terrorist, because he's white. Only brown people are terrorists.

    Re: Jury Selection Begins in Eric Rudolph Trial (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 14, 2005 at 02:50:11 PM EST
    duplicate comment deleted.