Young Thug’s jury selection: What attorneys are looking for
Judge, attorneys are still in the process of selecting a jury that will preside over Jeffery Williams’ trial
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The massive racketeering and gang-related trial of Jeffery Williams - aka Young Thug - is off to a slow start, as Judge Ural Glanville and attorneys continue hearing from jurors who are asking for exemptions from service.
On Wednesday, two of the roughly 600 people summoned for jury - jurors No. 64 and 453 - had previously left the country and failed to show up. That led Judge Ural Glanville to request deputies to find them. The jurors were being requested to return to their respective jury panels to complete their questionnaires.
Dozens of potential jurors have requested exemptions from service for a variety of reasons: child care and elderly patent care obligations, medical reasons and professional hardship, among others. More than 20 were excused from service Wednesday.
Full coverage: The trial of Young Thug
Chris Timmons, a former prosecutor for DeKalb and Cobb counties and is now in private practice at Knowles Gallant Timmons, is calling jury selection as actually a process of “de-selection.”
“With a trial of this magnitude, you’re going to seat 12 jurors and probably sign between seven and 12 alternates,” Timmons said. “Over time, you’re going to lose people; someone will get sick, someone will have a death in the family. What’s going on right now is determines that initial group who can be fair, hear the evidence and listen to the judge.
“I’ve won cases in jury selection and lost cases in jury section. This is the most important decision in any case.”
Jury selection is expected to continue through Jan. 24 in the massive Young Thug RICO trial.
“Right now, it’s all about fairness,” Timmons said. “There are really two trials. One happens in the courtroom when your hear the evidence. But the real trial happens after closing arguments and takes place in the jury room.”
Williams is facing eight criminal counts under a federal law that was originally enacted to fight organized crime.
The federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law was passed and signed into law in 1970 by President Richard Nixon. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, it allows prosecutors to link apparently unrelated crimes with a common objective into a prosecutable pattern of racketeering.
RICO also provides for more severe penalties and permits a defendant to be convicted and separately punished for the underlying crimes that constitute a racketeering pattern.
Georgia is one of 33 states that has its own RICO law, but in the Peach State, the alleged criminal enterprises do not have to have existed as long as the federal law.
Under the Fulton County grand jury indictment, Williams is charged with participation in a criminal street gang activity.
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