Jury Selection Resumes In Ex-Officer's Murder Trial

By Dina Kaplan

(LOUISVILLE, September 21st, 2004, 7 p.m.) -- Jury selection in the murder trial of a former Louisville police officer resumed Tuesday after an appeals court judge ruled some reporters could be in the courtroom during the process. WAVE 3's Dina Kaplan reports.

Former narcotics detective McKenzie Mattingly is charged in the shooting death of 19-year-old Michael Newby.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman had barred the public and the media from the courtroom as jury selection began Monday.

Saying the "trial court has abused its discretion in this case," Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge William Knopf issued a ruling Tuesday morning allowing a newspaper and television reporter to be in the courtroom. He ordered a television feed to a media room for other reporters.

Prosecutor Scott Davis and defense lawyer Steven Schroering had specific questions for potential jurors.

Schroering wanted to know if any member of the group of 150 potential jurors knew civil rights activist Louis Coleman or had seen him demonstrating outside the courtroom Monday. One knew him personally, all knew who he was and more than half had seen him outside demonstrating.

Schroering also asked if anyone present had ever had a bad experience with a police officer.

Prosecutor Scott Davis asked if anyone was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, which is a police union. At least three people said they were. More than a dozen people indicated they had donated money to the FOP and about 55 percent admitted owning guns.

Davis also asked if any of the potential jurors owned a gun and if they could imagine why a police officer would fire a gun in the line of duty.

One woman said Michael Newby should not have been involved in a drug deal in the first place. Others said they had not formed any opinions on the case.

Although the media was allowed in the courtroom, Christopher 2X, a representative of Michael Newby's family, was not. "They cannot feel credibility if the family doesn't have access to this whole process, from Point A to the end."

Jerry Bouggess, Michael Newby's stepfather, says he is "furious," telling us he feels he has fewer rights in terms of watching the jury selection process than the man now on trial for allegedly murdering his son.

Bouggess says Mattingly's team is "getting more influence over the jury selection than the family is, and we are the victims."

UofL law professor Russ Weaver agrees with Newby's family. "The family of the victim should be allowed in the courtroom. It's part of the process, it's part of having confidence in the integrity of the outcome, and if they don't get in then how are they going to know whether the process was fair?"

We were unable to reach Judge Burkman for comment on Tuesday, but one of her deputies did say he was under orders not to let anyone from the public from the courtroom except the media.

Online Reporter: Dina Kaplan

Online Producer: Michael Dever