(WHEREUPON, A JURY COMPOSED OF TWELVE MEMBERS AND TWO ALTERNATES OF THE REGULAR PANEL OF PETIT JURORS SERVING AT THE PRESENT TERM OF THIS COURT ARE EXAMINED, FOUND QUALIFIED, ACCEPTED AND IMPANELED TO TRY SAID CAUSE.)
THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen, the Court is going to give you an admonition at this time. An admonition is a warning, a caution, that you are not to discuss this case among yourselves or with anyone until the case is finally submitted to you.
You must not read about the case in the newspaper, listen to it on the radio, watch any TV account of it or discuss such an account with anyone. It should be obvious to you that there will be extensive media coverage, and you should avoid any such accounts. That doesn't mean you can't read the paper or watch TV. It simply means you must not listen to or watch or read such accounts.
It's also very important that you not discuss this case with anyone. Your spouses and families are going to ask you what is happening in the case, but you should tell them that you simply cannot talk about it.
You must not discuss anything with the lawyers or the witnesses in the case. You may be talking to them about the weather or something, but someone seeing you across the courtroom won't know what you're talking to that lawyer or witness about, and they're going to assume the worst. That's just human nature.
In other words you must be completely impartial in this matter. I say this to you not because I think any of you would go out and try to find out about the facts or that you would deliberately go and discuss the case, but because it's very important that you not only be impartial but that you also give the appearance of impartiality.
So with that reminder, you're free to go at this time. In the future I'll simply remind you of the admonition not to discuss the case.
(THE FOLLOWING CONFERENCE WAS HELD IN CHAMBERS)
MR. FOGLEMAN: Yesterday Mr. Stidham inquired -- or asked of Inspector Gitchell that he investigate a particular matter, and part of that would be interviewing a particular person.
MR. STIDHAM: Your Honor, before we talk about that on the record, could we talk about it off the record?
THE COURT: Is there anything we can do off the record that we can't do on the record?
MR. STIDHAM: Before we go on the record and say who that individual is --
THE COURT: I wasn't going to --
MR. STIDHAM: If you're not going to say the individual's name, I don't have any problems with that.
MR. FOGLEMAN: Anyway, this particular person that Inspector Gitchell was requested to explore -- we're willing to do that but we don't want it crammed down our throats when Inspector Gitchell or other officers testify saying, "Well, if you're so sure about this case, why are you all still investigating it? Isn't it true that a statement was taken" -- and I understand that Mr. Stidham and Mr. Crow have agreed that that will not be done and the fact that that was looked into will not be inquired of.
THE COURT: Are you trying to tell me that Mr. Stidham gave you the name of an individual that might have information about the case and asked that you pursue it? I mean, I'm talking about up to the day the jury goes out and deliberates, I hope the officers are continuing to investigate any lead. I wouldn't expect them to do any less than that.
MR. STIDHAM: I think what Mr. Fogleman is trying to say, your Honor, is that he doesn't want us to be able to impeach the officers about, "Isn't it true that you're investigating so-and-so," and make that look like we're --
MR. CROW: We're not going to do that --
MR. STIDHAM: -- Your Honor, my word as an officer of the court and as a gentleman, I certainly would not do that under any circumstances, and I have every desire in the world for the West Memphis Police Department to investigate this matter fully simply because I believe in the innocence of my client. And anything they can do to investigate that further and fully, I applaud their efforts, and I certainly wouldn't do anything to hamper that at all.
THE COURT: You may turn up evidence over the weekend that hasn't been explored. If you do, then that's going to be provided to you and if you have to have a short period of time to review it and interview them, I'm going to permit that.
MR. STIDHAM: Likewise, I don't want the West Memphis Police Department to be embarrassed by the fact that they happen to come up on something that may be exculpatory or exonerate him. I don't want them to have any hampers whatsoever with regard to that, and we certainly wouldn't do anything to embarrass them or --
MR. FOGLEMAN: The information produced won't bother us at all. We just don't want the fact that they're looking to be used.
MR. CROW: That won't happen.
MR. FOGLEMAN: If something develops, sure, I expect it to be used in a minute.
THE COURT: Well, of course, if you develop evidence that was harmful to them, I'm sure they'll say, "Wait a minute. We haven't heard about it." On the other hand, I expect the officers to investigate right up to the minute they go out and if necessary, afterwards.
MR. STIDHAM: We were a little concerned yesterday to find out what we did and to find out that they had known this for a week or ten days and we hadn't heard about it --
MR. CROW: That's a different situation.
MR. FOGLEMAN: You mean the fact that a knife was seen?
MR. STIDHAM: Um-hum.
MR. FOGLEMAN: Well, Lord, how many knives have there been in this case?
MR. STIDHAM: Fifteen the last time we counted.
MR. FOGLEMAN: Okay, fifteen knives --
MR. STIDHAM: But there haven't been any anonymous ones with blood on them.
MR. FOGLEMAN: And as soon as I got the report, y'all got it.