Wednesday was day two of jury selection in the misdemeanor child abuse case for Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula.
During court no cameras were allowed. But as CBS47’s Angelica Lei Lani was there, she observed Dr. Arambula as he sat in court. She says he appeared to have rosary beads in his hands.
We spoke with our legal analyst, David Mugridge, who says during jury selection he would encourage his own clients to appear passive looking, as much as possible.
The Judge, along with attorney’s for both sides, questioned potential jurors to determine if they should be on the jury.
Each side was able to reject up to six jurors without giving a reason.
There were about 88 potential jurors. Many had backgrounds or ties to law enforcement.
One a local public defender, another a retired law enforcement officer, there was also an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) officer.
One juror mentioned he had contributed to Dr. Arambula’s campaign. About 10 or 11 mentioned they have seen or heard about the case on the news.
They were all asked if they could reach a decision using just the evidence.
Arambula’s attorney told potential jurors that the case will be emotional.
As potential jurors were questioned, they were shown a few photos of the alleged 7-year-old victim’s bruise.
Arambula’s attorney described his daughter as “cute as a button”.
The potential jurors were also shown a list of about 35 potential witnesses.
They were asked if they had children or grandchildren and their ages, if they fought and how often.
About 10 said they have children, the others did not. About 14 are married, others engaged and single.
Mugridge says attorney’s on both sides have an idea of the jurors they want.
“Somebody they feel can relate to this case and they can make them appreciate and understand the facts in this case,” he says.
Arambula’s attorney was the first to ask if anyone had an issue with Arambula’s politics. Potential jurors said no.
The Judge stated he wanted to be clear to the potential jurors that this case is not about whether corporal punishment is legal.
“Even if you believe that corporal punishment is appropriate and some people would go so far to say it’s my obligation to raise a child and discipline them, the issue than still becomes at what point does it become illegal and again that’s a real hard question to answer,” Mugridge says.
We were told about 8 jurors were eliminated but a complete jury has not been selected.
We were told the jury selection should finish up by Thursday before lunch and then by the afternoon they possibly could start opening statements.