MAYS LANDING -- A judge began making plans Monday for a trial that would include 13 defendants and a pool of about 300 jurors.
Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small and 13 others were indicted in September on various charges that they disenfranchised voters while working on Small's failed mayoral bid. One man pleaded guilty, but the rest have rejected any plea deals so far.
That led Superior Court Judge James Isman to takes steps to prepare for a trial that would include all the remaining defendants.
The plan would have retired Judge Michael Connor come back on recall to take care of drug court and Isman's daily defendant list, to clear his calendar for a trial that could last two months.
The schedule would have trial going five days a week -- jury trials in the county usually break on Fridays -- and have the lawyers available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the jurors sitting from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Isman said.
That jury would include at least 16 people -- 12 jurors and four alternates. But in selecting a juror, each defense attorney can reject 10 people. The state can reject 10 people per juror. That means, that there is the potential to go through 260 jurors. Add to that the 16 who would sit, and allowing for those who have excuses or conflicts that the judge excuses, and the number nears 300.
In order to allow the jurors to keep the 13 defendants and their various charges straight, Isman said he would allow note taking -- a first for him in his time on the bench.
The defendants still have a chance to plead. Isman extended that deadline to Aug. 16. Jury selection for the trial would then start Oct. 4.