FRESNO - Jury selection is underway in a Fresno courtroom in the trial of ex Stanislaus County sheriff’s captain Raul DeLeon. DeLeon is charged with four counts of lying to federal investigators and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with the Road Dog cycle shop racketeering case. If convicted, DeLeon, 52, faces up to 25 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Jurors are being chosen from a pool of about 50 people gathered in Courtroom Three in Fresno’s federal courthouse. In giving potential jurors an overview of the case and a list of possible witnesses, Judge Oliver Wanger asked them to listen for familiar names, so they can excuse themselves if they know anyone involved in the case. “We are asking you to search your hearts and minds in evaluating whether there’s anything about the case … that would cause you to be anything but completely impartial,” said Wanger. Three potential have told the court that they’ve read news accounts of the Road Dog case, but all three said they haven’t formed opinions yet about DeLeon’s guilt or innocence. One woman was excused after she told the court that she believed DeLeon was innocent. Another woman was excused after she said her husband was a retired Modesto police lieutenant and that she had heard about the case at social gatherings.
One woman asked to be excused because, she said, her son was killed 12 years ago in a drive-by shooting, and the case was never solved. She said she has a poor opinion of law enforcement because of that experience.
Prosecutors will be allowed to challenge the selection of six potential jurors; the defense will be allowed to challenge 10.
Jury selection is expected to last about two hours. Then attorneys will start opening statements. Earlier in the day, defense attorney Paul Q. Goyette told the court that DeLeon could testify during the trial. The trial is expected to last three or four days.
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