JACKSBORO (WATE) – A jury has been chosen in the criminal trial for a Campbell County judge charged with misconduct.
Judge Amanda Sammons, 41, pleaded not guilty in August to all charges in a Campbell County courtroom. Her attorney said they wanted a speedy trial and was not issuing a statement. The general sessions judge said she will receive a trial by jury.
Jury selection began at 9 am Tuesday. Judge Paul Summers explained to the courtroom full of potential jurors to be fair and impartial. He asked potential jurors to be a blank slate. Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom during the selection process.
Judge Amanda Sammons’ husband, Scott, may be a witness called in the case. Four days were set aside for the trial and 12 jurors are going to be making a final decision but 14 were seated – two will serve as alternates.
District Attorney Dan Armstrong asked the potential jurors if they’ve heard anything on the case. He also explained what evidence is, burden of proof, and proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Potential jurors were asked to let the attorneys know if they knew Judge Sammons or any of the witnesses that may be called.
Judge Sammons’ attorney asked potential jurors if they’d ever appeared in her courtroom since she was elected in 2014.
Both attorneys asked the courtroom of potential jurors if they’d read or watched anything on the case through news outlets. Some potential jurors mentioned they had read the headlines or brief descriptions but could not remember details and would not let this sway their opinion.
Some told both attorneys they had served on a jury in the past and understood how the system worked.
Judge Sammons’ attorney asked if they were in her position, would they want themselves as a juror deciding their fate? A number of potential jurors were dismissed and others were re-seated throughout the day. By late afternoon, 14 total jurors were selected.
Judge Summers asked the jurors not to discuss the case until it’s complete, they were told not to research the case or obtain information about Judge Sammons.
They were told a verdict must be unanimous and they should keep an open mind. Judge Summers told the jurors that an indictment is not evidence.
The trial will reconvene Wednesday morning at 9:00.