FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 10, 2013
Jury Selection Complete Despite Batson Challenge in Fresno Excessive Use of Force Trial.
Fresno, CA January 10, 2013– U.S v. Christopher Coleman, Paul Van Dalen, Sean Plymale and Mike Manfredi
Judge Anthony Ishii finally swore in a jury of 12 plus four alternates at approximately 6:30 PM on January 9, 2013. It took almost 2 days of arduous litigation to select a jury.
Late in the day on Wednesday, the Government filed a Batson Challenge against the defense. The Government accused the defense lawyers of purposely removing jurors because of their Hispanic ethnic background. The law prohibits both sides from removing jurors based solely on their race.
The defense lawyers, including Mr. Goyette, were understandably outraged. They argued that the Government was dismissing all Caucasian jurors, an act of blatant racism in itself.
Judge Ishii held a formal hearing where the defense justified legitimate, non– race related reasons why they dismissed each juror on a peremptory challenge. After a contentious argument, Judge Ishii denied the Government’s challenge.
Starting Thursday morning, the court will hear two defense motions to dismiss; one of which is the Government’s failure to produce the victim and complaining witness, Rolando Celedon. If the case continues, all the lawyers are hoping to make their opening statements on Thursday afternoon.
Attorney for Chris Coleman, Paul Goyette is pleased with the jury. “We think we have a jury that can be fair and give our clients a fair trial. We’re looking forward to the presentation of evidence.”