Casey Anthony Murder Trial Stalls Over Jury

Grandparents want hawkers to stop selling Caylee Anthony paraphernalia.

May 19, 2011— -- As a journalist I cringe saying this, but sometimes TV just isn't good for justice.

Casey Anthony's jury selection process has been plagued with problems down in Pinellas County, Fla. It was originally expected to completed quickly and her murder trial was scheduled to begin this past Tuesday. They still haven't finished selecting a jury. Granted some of the problems have been procedural, but many of the problems have been due to extensive coverage of this trial.

The coverage has been so extensive people have even sold T-shirts and trinkets with the picture of the victim, Casey Anthony's 2-year-old daughter Caylee, on them. The hawking of Caylee paraphernalia has promoted her grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony, to consider filing suit to halt the sales.

Given that kind of overexposure, it's surprising to hear as many potential jurors as we did say they'd never heard of this case. But it's more surprising to hear juror after juror utter the kiss of juror-death phrase, "I think she's guilty." And many have said so right after voir dire questioning about TV coverage of the case.

Because these jury candidates are almost immediately rejected, the jury pool, from which the ultimate panel is chosen, has been atrophying at breakneck pace.

The lawyers are guaranteed their peremptory strikes, 10 each side in this case. And Casey Anthony, 25, is guaranteed the right that the state will dismiss jurors who cannot be impartial.

Casey Anthony Murder Trial Expected to Last Eight Weeks

In a case where a jury must be sequestered away from their families and their lives for upwards of eight weeks (and I'll go on record as saying it will go much longer) it's a tall order to find a big pool of people who can advance past that hardship.

This original jury pool was large, but not big enough. The "well is running dry," as Judge Belvin Perry put it and he's down to the last few potential jurors available.

Dipping into a new well has its problems, too. For the last two weeks everyone and his Pinellas County dog has been exposed to hefty coverage of the jury selection process. And during that process, the defense has perhaps tipped its hand in some of its questions of the current jury pool. It is no longer a secret that "physical, emotional and sexual abuse" will make its may into the defense's case. The pundits on TV are suggesting that Casey Anthony feared telling anyone her daughter was missing for 21 days because she feared additional "abuse."

The goal of seating eight alternates appears to be unattainable now. I daresay six alternates may be too ambitious.

Again, this is a sequestered eight week process. We are guaranteed to have jurors drop out.. The reasons range from family emergencies, sleeping in court, talking about the case and personal illness. They all rear their heads at almost every trial.

In the Connecticut case against convicted killer Stephen Hayes, every alternate was used. That case lasted two months.

If you run out of alternates, you run the risk of a mistrial. And then we'd have to start this process all over again. And I would need a new voter registration card. In Florida. Because we'll be there a while longer.