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Jury selection begins in ex-officer's manslaughter retrial

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published September 16, 2013 at 6:26 a.m. Updated September 16, 2013 at 12:40 p.m.

josh-hastings-sits-with-his-father-little-rock-police-department-capt-terry-hastings-before-jury-selection-is-set-to-begin-monday-morning

Josh Hastings sits with his father, Little Rock Police Department Capt. Terry Hastings, before jury selection is set to begin Monday morning.

The retrial of a Little Rock Police Department officer who was fired from the force and charged with manslaughter after fatally shooting a teenage suspect began Monday morning, but no jurors had been seated by midday.

Josh Hastings fatally shot 15-year-old Bobby Moore III in August 2012 while responding to a report of vehicle break-ins at a Little Rock apartment complex.

Hastings contends he opened fire while Moore drove a vehicle at him in the dark parking lot, but police investigators said they determined the car was not moving toward Hastings at the time.

Hastings was charged with a single count of manslaughter last September and formally dismissed from the Police Department the next month. A jury couldn't reach a verdict in the first trial earlier this year.

The retrial before Judge Wendell Griffen began about 10 a.m. with jury selection. The judge has said he, rather than the attorneys on both sides of the case, would handle the questioning of prospective jurors. Both sides were ordered to submit written questions for jurors beforehand.

About 60 potential jurors were in the courtroom, answering questions one by one Monday morning.

Most of the morning session consisted of questioning prospective panelists who said the trial's allotted three-week time frame presented a problem.

Griffen dismissed several, including some who said they had work obligations, one man who had a vacation booked, an administrative law judge who said he had cases of his own to handle and a woman who said she and her husband are set to take part in a dance competition out of state.

"Now if you lose, you can't blame it on this trial," Griffen said as he dismissed her.

No jurors indicated they knew Hastings, attorneys on either side or any of 37 possible witnessed who may be called.

By the time the questioning advanced to whether prospective panelists had any knowledge of the case, about 40 possible jurors remained in the room. Roughly half said they hadn't heard anything about the case previously.

Griffen then began questioning at the bench of those who had heard about the case. Only two of those roughly 20 potential jurors had been questioned when the court broke for lunch shortly after 1:30 p.m.

For more on this story, read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Comments on: Jury selection begins in ex-officer's manslaughter retrial

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 total comments

drs01 says... September 16, 2013 at 3:41 p.m.

"I'll pick the jury...I'll decide who can testify...I'll pronounce the sentence ....I'll make the coffee...I'll clean the courtroom..... that's the way this justice system is suppose to work in my kangaroo court" Wendell "the racist" Griffin.

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Jfish says... September 16, 2013 at 4:28 p.m.

I thought it was the judge's duty to preside over the trial rather than perform the duties of the attorneys, what are they getting paid $100 per hour to do?

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Pobucker says... September 16, 2013 at 5:16 p.m.

There won't be another hung jury if this judge has any say about it.

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MenLR2 says... September 16, 2013 at 5:35 p.m.

"By the time the questioning advanced to whether prospective panelists had any knowledge of the case, about 40 possible jurors remained in the room." ..... Not sure I would want a jury to try me who did not read a newspaper or see any news in the last year......hummmmm

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