The trial of 25-year-old Casey Anthony will take place in Orlando, but jurors are being selected at a courthouse about 100 miles away because of intense media coverage. The first panel of potential jurors met with the judge and attorneys Monday morning in Clearwater.
Chief Judge Belvin Perry hopes to have 20 jurors - including eight alternates - in place by the end of the week. He hopes to begin the trial on May 17. Over the course of selection potential jurors will be called up individually, undergo two rounds of questioning and be asked if they could recommend the death penalty for Anthony.
Anthony is charged with first-degree murder, and any juror that couldn't recommend death would be disqualified.
Monday is being spent on identifying jurors in the first panel that qualify for "hardship dismissals," meaning they had some personal reason that would preclude them from devoting the 6-8 weeks the trial expected to last. Those potential jurors that aren't dismissed for hardship reasons are being notified to come back for further rounds of questioning later in the weeks.
Defense attorney Jose Baez objected to the first panel of about 100 people in its entirety, saying that it wasn't representative of Orlando's demographics because it had only two Hispanic and four African-American jurors.
Perry denied the objection and questioning of the panelists began.