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Jury selected in Hamrick v. Imperial Irrigation District

January 15, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

A panel of 10 men and two women was chosen to be the jury to hear a case of a woman who tripped, fell and injured herself while on Imperial Irrigation District property.

The jurors, after four days of selection process, were sworn in Monday. Today the attorneys will try to select two alternates.

The lawsuit is being brought by El Centro resident Carmen Hamrick, who at age 70, allegedly tripped outside IID's William R. Condit Auditorium on Nov. 16, 1996.

Despite the more than 100 prospective jurors summoned, there were still challenges for cause to excuse some prospective jurors who said they had seen newspaper articles about the case.


Hamrick's attorney, Lowell Sutherland, wanted those prospective jurors excused.

Superior Court Judge Joseph Zimmerman denied Sutherland's request. Zimmerman said the prospective jurors gave the right answers when asked about what they had read.

To not influence other prospective jurors, those who had read articles about the case were interviewed in private.

After the selection of the two alternate jurors, the trial should start today.

Unlike a criminal trial that requires a unanimous verdict and proof beyond a reasonable doubt, a civil trial only requires the plaintiff's attorney to convince nine of 12 jury members that his side has a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance is a lower threshold, described by Zimmerman as "more evidence on their side than on the defendant's."

The trial is expected to last four to five days.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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