Anthony Marshall realizes he’s facing a PR problem that no amount of wobbly leaning on a cane can fix. As he entered court yesterday, he was passed by a guy in a baseball cap who began heckling him. “Hey, that was his mother’s money! That was his mother’s money!” the stranger yelled randomly as he shuffled past. “Oh, Ken, did you hear that?” his wife, Charlene, fretted to their nearby lawyer. “Can we get a fair trial?”
The answer is, nobody knows, but the lawyer, Kenneth Warner, is doing his best to ensure that the jury who hears the case is as impartial as possible. To that end, the twelve-page poll that potential jurors have been forced to fill out has a lot of very specific questions. We picked some favorites.
• “What are your favorite newspapers, magazines, TV shows, radio programs and websites?”
• “Before coming to court today, had you heard of Brooke Astor?”
• “Do you contribute to charities, or cultural or other non-profit organizations?” [The next questions asks jurors to specify which ones, which is kind of insulting.]
• “What is the largest donation you’ve ever made to a charity or non-profit organization?” [There is, hilariously, a box here for the amount “$10,000 or more.”]
• “Have you ever inherited money or things of value left to you in someone’s will?” [Also, hilariously, there is a box here for the amount “$1 million or more.”]
• “Do you personally know people who you consider to be extremely wealthy?”
• “Do you have any attitudes, positive or negative, toward people of great wealth that would affect your ability to be a fair and impartial juror in this case?”
Here’s the question: Are these questions meant to leave potential jurors feeling alienated by Anthony Marshall even more than they were before?