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Gaming Guru

Melissa Arseniuk

31 qualified jurors selected in Simpson trial

11 September 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Jury selection for O.J. Simpson's upcoming criminal trial moved quickly this morning, as four people were added to the pool of qualified jurors within the first hour of proceedings.

Fifteen people were added to the group of potential jurors Wednesday, while six were added on both Monday and Tuesday.

The pool of qualified jury members rests at 31 people and needs just nine more before the jury can be formed. The trial needs 40 qualified potential jurors to draw from to form its 12-member jury. Six additional candidates will also serve as alternate jurors.

There currently are twice as many women as men in the group of qualified candidates. The pool contains one black man, one black woman and one Hispanic man. Some other members of the jury pool appear to be Latino and of Asian descent, but court officials could not confirm the ethnicity of the other juror candidates.

The initial collection of possible jurors began with 500 people. A pretrial survey eliminated 252 of those, leaving 248 prospective jury members in the group. Judge Jackie Glass, along with lawyers for the prosecution and the defense, began questioning shortlisted candidates on Monday.

Once 40 qualified potential jurors have been identified, the prosecution and defense each will have the opportunity to exercise eight pre-emptive challenges. The challenges are used to remove individuals from the jury if either side feels the candidate is unsuitable.

Simpson and his former golfing buddy, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, face a dozen kidnapping, robbery and weapons-related charges stemming from the alleged raid of two memorabilia dealers' Palace Station hotel room last fall. If a jury is established this week, their trial will begin Monday.