Jury selection for Taglianetti under way

MAYVILLE – After the first official day of jury selection in the second-degree murder trial for Anthony R. Taglianetti II, no jurors have been selected.

The roughly 75 jurors who had been called for the first round of jury selection Tuesday returned to the courthouse Thursday. Jurors were adjourned prior to the commencement of jury selection Tuesday, after information was brought forward to the court by District Attorney David Foley that was not previously received by Ned Barone, public defender.

Judge John T. Ward held a closed hearing regarding the new information Wednesday. Following the hearing, Foley indicated the information would be able to be used during the trial. Jurors returned to the courthouse Thursday to commence selection.

After having duties explained by Ward, 12 potential jurors and four alternates were selected via lottery. Once the 16 jurors were seated, Ward questioned how many had heard of the case prior to his explanation. Each potential juror seated acknowledged they had.

Following a brief sidebar with the defense and prosecution, Ward announced each potential juror would be interviewed individually in a side room, which Barone later called “unusual.”

“It’s not typical. It’s unusual,” Barone said. “But, the reason why we’re doing that is because of the sensitive nature of some of the questions that we’re asking. We’re getting into some of the issues that may come out at the time of trial. Quite frankly, I don’t think there are certain issues that potential jurors want to talk about in front of everybody else. I think the system we’ve come up with in questioning the jurors, or possible jurors, is working pretty well.”

Barone said each team had agreed to the process, which is touching on the pre-trial publicity each potential juror had encountered. Although he said it’s a slow process, Barone also said it seems to be working.

“We’re trying to make it as convenient as we can for possible jurors,” he said. “It’s not easy, it’s a difficult process, it’s inconvenient for them a lot of times. So, we’re trying to make it as easy as we can for them.”

Following the first round of questioning, the court dismissed 12 of the 16 original jurors. Eight new jurors and four new alternates were called via lottery to fill the empty seats, and the court once again began questioning the new potential jurors. Ward announced once all 16 seats were filled with candidates following the individual questioning, the court would move to questioning those jurors in public session. However, until each seat was filled, jurors will continue to report back to the court until they are dismissed. Currently, no permanent jurors have been named.

Barone said following the first day of questioning, the court is finding many people have some degree of prior knowledge of the case.

“That’s what we’re finding out – everybody’s heard about this case,” he said. “That was one of our concerns. But every person is different; every individual is different. What we’re looking for are individuals – regardless of what they’ve heard or talked about – that can still be fair and impartial. For every individual, that’s different. Things affect everybody differently. … There’s no magic formula. It’d be easy if there was, but there isn’t.”

Jury selection will continue Friday. Ward told the court he expected jury selection to last “a couple weeks.” Additionally, Ward said testimony is expected to begin the first week of October, continue throughout the month, and potentially spill into November.

Taglianetti, a former Dale City, Va., resident is charged with driving to New York and shooting Keith Reed Jr., Clymer Central School superintendent, over an alleged affair between Reed and Taglianetti’s wife.

Police named Taglianetti a suspect in the Sept. 21, 2012, homicide of Reed. He was taken into custody days later in Virginia, and in December was extradited to Chautauqua County. On Dec. 19, 2012, Taglianetti pleaded innocent to a second-degree murder charge. Taglianetti appeared in court in July for pre-trial hearings on evidence and identification.

Foley declined to comment following jury selection.