Jury selection under way in Rutledge case
The process of finding 12 jurors and four alternates to sit in judgment of a former Truckee jailer accused of 29 sex-related offenses against 13 women began Tuesday in Nevada City.
Bobby Alvin “B.A.” Rutledge Jr. , dressed in a new suit of clothes instead of his orange jail jumpsuit, appeared at 8:30 a.m. before presiding Nevada County Superior Court Judge Ersel L. Edwards. Rutledge, the jury and his defense attorney Stephen Munkelt will spend the next six weeks in the courtroom listening to the evidence District Attorney Michael Ferguson has amassed against the ex-jailer.
Four panels of prospective jurors – nearly 500 western Nevada County residents – will flow through the courtroom this week. While each jury panel consists of 200 people, usually fewer than 100 show up, especially in inclement weather, court officials said. If too many prospective jurors are disqualified – or not enough appear – additional potential jurors may be called, court officials said.
By sometime today, the jury pool should be down to around 70 people.
Edwards dismissed on Monday a defense motion to throw out or reduce seven counts against Rutledge, meaning that Rutledge must face all 29 counts against him.
Edwards also ruled Monday that news media will not be allowed to have any photographic or recording devices in the courtroom or immediately outside it during the trial’s duration. He had made similar rulings earlier in the case against Rutledge.
Still to be decided will be Munkelt’s motion to exclude testimony from victims not listed in the counts already against Rutledge.
Edwards indicated that he would rule on the motion when and if Ferguson tried to introduce such witnesses or evidence.
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