Judge James M. Burke is one of 27 judges in the criminal division of New York County Supreme Court that sees about 35 felony cases go to trial each month. Burke, a Georgetown Law grad, was first appointed to the bench by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 2001. Before that, he spent more than a decade as a prosecutor in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Burke will preside over the selection of 12 jurors, and a court spokesman says that there will be six alternates instead of the usual two to four because high-profile cases are more likely to see jurors be disqualified. To find those 18 people, the court sent out 2,000 extra summonses to wrangle a pool of about 520 people from which to choose. (Only about 27?percent of those summoned for jury duty in New York County actually show up.) Jury selection is expected to take two weeks.
This story first appeared in the Jan. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.