Judge in slain Chatham priest trial probes jurors’ views on sex and religion

| September 21, 2011

MORRISTOWN —  Judges routinely ask potential jurors questions about whether they know the lawyers in the case or if they have been crime victims. But rarely are those who may sit in the jury box asked about religion. Or sex and religion.

"These questions are not typical, but this is not a run-of-the-mill crime. There aren’t too many priests getting murdered," said Thaddeus Hoffmeister, an associate professor at the University of Dayton Law School in Ohio who writes a blog about juries.

"These questions seem fair," Hoffmeister added. "Religion is very personal to a lot of people and it could influence how the judge the facts."

The jury that is ultimately selected will decide the fate of Jose Feliciano, 66, of Easton, Pa., a former custodian at St. Patrick Church in Chatham who is accused of murder in the Oct. 22, 2009, stabbing death of the Rev. Edward Hinds, 61, the former parish pastor.



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