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Judge Authorizes Background Checks For Jurors

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Jury Box

A jury box in a courtroom at the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn St. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A federal judge has given city lawyers the go-ahead to do background checks on potential jurors in an upcoming misconduct case against Chicago Police.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty reports, the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times both reported Friday morning that U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly says attorneys would only be able to review arrest records and make challenges during jury selection.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty reports

The published reports say the decision comes a week after a man was bounced from the jury on the civil police misconduct case was bounced for lying about his rap sheet.

The civil trial is for a federal lawsuit filed by a South Side family, alleging physical abuse and false arrest, the Tribune reported. The criminal check happened after the jury already had been impaneled, the newspaper reported.

Kennelly says it would be difficult to stop reviews, after two jurors in the corruption case of former Gov. George Ryan were removed during jury deliberations for lying about their records.

Ryan was ultimately found guilty in March 2006, but there was tak of a possible mistrial after the discovery that one juror had been convicted of felony driving under the influence, and another had been charged, but not convicted, with felony drug charges as well as misdemeanor child neglect and assault.

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