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Jury selection in murder trial involves unconventional process

Posted at 5:05 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-03 18:22:02-05

Some Iberia Parish residents got a surprise Friday morning - a subpoena for jury duty.

After KATC heard from several residents that subpoenas were being served to people at stores and gas stations, we checked with the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office.

Officials there confirmed that they had served some subpoenas, as ordered by the court, around the parish Friday morning. A post on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page was blunt but cryptic:

Viewers told KATC that the subpoenas ordered folks to head to the Iberia Courthouse at 1 p.m. Friday.

We checked with District Attorney Bo Duhe, who confirmed that the residents were summoned under a Louisiana law that allows "Tales Jurors" to be called to the courthouse when regular jury pools are exhausted.

In Louisiana, juries are selected from pools of eligible residents who are called to the courthouse for jury duty. But everyone in a jury pool doesn't end up on a jury; some prospective jurors may be released for a legal cause, and then each side of the case has a certain number of opportunities to challenge prospective jurors. For instance, a prospective juror may be released because he knows someone involved in the crime, or perhaps she knows one of the attorneys involved, or they may know something about the case and have already made up their mind about it.

Jury selection for the case in question has been going on since Tuesday, and although the parties have been through two jury pools they still didn't have a jury, Duhe said. To solve that problem, the court sent the sheriff out to get a pool of Tales Jurors so the jury could be filled, he said.

Duhe said he expected a jury would be selected Friday, so that the trial in question can begin on Monday.

Court records indicate that jury selection is underway for a teenage defendant accused of second-degree murder in the December 2020 shooting death of Liam McDuff. McDuff, a 19-year-old LSU student at the time, died after being shot at a party. To read our story about the arrests in the case, click here.

The person accused of shooting McDuff was 15 years old at the time of the crime. Although he is being tried as an adult, KATC has decided not to identify him unless he is convicted.