Judge says thousands may be needed for jury pool
BURLINGTON — A federal judge says as many as 5,000 people might need to be questioned in order to find an unbiased jury for the upcoming trial of a Vermont man charged in the sexual assault and killing of his 12-year-old niece in 2008.
Michael Jacques potentially faces the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that he abducted, sexually assaulted and killed Brooke Bennett.
Jury selection is scheduled to start Sept. 3.
The Burlington Free Press reported that Judge William Sessions expressed concerns at a hearing Thursday about the logistics of assembling an impartial jury in Vermont.
Sessions said he plans to pick jurors from a statewide pool. He proposed simultaneously using all three federal courthouses during the preliminary jury-selection process. That involves the filling out of background questionnaires.