Dwindling Juror Pool Threatens Delay of Michelle Troconis Trial, Creating Challenges for the Court

STAMFORD, Conn. – The trial of Michelle Troconis, a defendant in the Jennifer Dulos disappearance case, has faced delays due to the need to replenish the alternate juror pool. On Monday, Jan. 8, the trial was scheduled to begin, but it had to be postponed to allow for additional jurors to be called in. Since the jury selection process began in October 2023, four jurors have been dismissed for personal reasons. Two more were selected on Tuesday, leaving just two more spots to fill.

According to William Dunlap, a criminal law professor at Quinnipiac University, the loss of jurors is an expected risk when a trial is delayed following the initial selection process. The delay in this case was caused by suppression hearings filed by the defense, which included requests to suppress interrogations of Troconis and her cell phone as evidence.

To ensure impartiality, potential jurors called on Tuesday were asked to review a comprehensive list of witnesses and individuals involved in the Jennifer Dulos case to determine if they have any connections to those involved. They were also questioned about their media consumption habits, ability to avoid media reports during the trial, and whether they have formed an opinion about the defendant.

Dunlap acknowledged that finding jurors who have never heard of the case would be challenging, but the court’s focus is on selecting individuals who are willing to base their decision solely on the evidence and instructions presented during the trial. The court is looking for jurors who can set aside any preconceived notions they may have developed from media coverage prior to being part of the jury.

Another challenge highlighted during jury selection was the potential length of the trial, which is estimated to last until March 1. Many potential jurors expressed hesitation due to work conflicts that may arise from such a lengthy commitment. Under Connecticut law, employers are only required to cover the first five days of jury service.

On Wednesday, the court will attempt to fill the final two jury vacancies. However, there is a concern about the quick turnaround time for any jurors selected on Wednesday, as the trial is set to begin on Thursday, Jan. 11.

Despite the jury selection challenges, the trial is still scheduled to start on Thursday.

In summary, the trial of Michelle Troconis in the Jennifer Dulos disappearance case has experienced delays as the alternate juror pool needed to be replenished. Four jurors have been dismissed since the initial selection, and two more were chosen on Tuesday, with only two spots remaining. The court is seeking jurors who will base their decision on the evidence presented during the trial and can set aside any preconceived notions influenced by media coverage. The potential length of the trial has also posed challenges, with some potential jurors expressing concerns about work conflicts. However, the trial is still expected to begin on Thursday, Jan. 11.