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Friday, January 25, 2013

Jury Selection in Mattapan Massacre Case

Starting in the summer of 2012, I was retained by attorney John Amabile to assist him with jury related issues in the retrial of Dwayne Moore, accused of killing four people and seriously wounding a fifth in a drug-related shooting in Mattapan, Massachusetts (a neighborhood of Boston). One of the victims was a two-year old boy and the victims were marched outside naked before they were shot, execution-style. Needless to say, the case engendered an enormous amount of publicity.

One of the initial co-defendants cut a deal with the district attorney's office, in return for his testimony. This man, Kimani Washington, testified at the initial trial, in February of 2012, that he had left the scene before the shooting started and pointed the finger at Dwayne Moore. The jury in the initial trial hung with respect to the murder charges against Moore (11-1 as it happened), resulting in a mistrial. Mr. Moore was retried starting in October, 2012.

Given the emotionally charged and continuing media coverage of the case, Mr. Amabile was able to successfully move the Court to award funds to cover the cost of a jury consultant to assist with jury selection and other matters. With Judge Locke's order, Mr. Amabile was in a position to pay me with funds from the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS).

The case was fascinating in many respects. Between the two trials, Marcus Hurd, the lone surviving victim, claimed to have experienced an epiphany with respect to his ability to identify the shooter (He had not done so at the first trial). There was a hearing about this, where his former fiancee contradicted his testimony about being able to make an ID. The judge ultimately allowed him to testify about this at court, but then the D.A. opted not to ask him to do so. We successfully moved for a change of venue to escape the Boston media market, so Judge Locke decided to select a jury from Worcester County (which turned out very much NOT to be outside the Boston media market) and bus the jurors to Boston every day for trial. We successfully petitioned the court for individualized, sequestered voir dire, as well as a supplemental juror questionnaire (SJQ) to be completed by every prospective juror. As a result, the jury pool was questioned to a degree probably unprecedented in the criminal courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Jury selection took two weeks.

In early January, I was interviewed by Corine Claxton, the co-host of Mass Law Radio ( and @MassLawRadio), which airs weekly on WCUW in Worcester (, about my participation in the Mattapan Massacre case. The 1 hour interview has been divided into two parts, that aired on January 18th and 25th respectively. It was a wide-ranging discussion of juror psychology, deliberation dynamics, handling pretrial publicity, the role of a jury consultant, the effects of racial diversity in criminal cases and many other topics.

Listen to Part 1 of the interview by going to

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