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Wone memories linger to new case

Washington Post editors

It seems the legacy of the Robert Wone conspiracy trial continues to linger over the D.C. Superior courthouse.

The judge who oversaw the trial of three roommates accused of doctoring the crime scene and covering up for Wone's killer is starting up another high-profile trial.

In the new trial, five men are accused in a 2008 D.C. gang killing. This trial, like the Wone trial, is expected to last weeks, so picking a jury is not going to be easy.

Well, the Wone case is making it even harder.

On Monday, during the first day of jury selection for the murder trial in Judge Lynn Leibovitz’s courtroom, a man was being interviewed as a prospective juror. The judge and attorneys on both sides were shocked when the man said he could not serve on the jury because he did not want to sit in Leibovitz’s courtroom. The reason: He did not respect the judge based on how she handled the Wone conspiracy trial, according to sources who were there.

A bit flustered, Leibovitz ultimately agreed to dismiss the man from the pool. Sources say attorneys hope to complete picking a jury for the upcoming trial by Thursday — that is unless they uncover more Leibovitz critics.

Through a spokeswoman, Leibovitz declined to comment on the juror.

Incidentally, there was no jury in the Wone case. It was a bench trial and Liebovitz acquitted the three men who lived at 1509 Swann St. NW, where Wone was fatally stabbed in 2006. No one ever has been charged with killing the once-promising lawyer.

-- Keith L. Alexander

By Washington Post editors  |  August 31, 2010; 11:34 AM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Homicide , Keith L. Alexander , The District  
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OK, that guy had the best excuse for avoiding jury duty I've heard in a LONG time. And he was probably just being honest!

Posted by: WashingtonDame | August 31, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

KUDOS for a creative way of getting out of jury duty!

Posted by: ashafer_usa | August 31, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

In the incredible Wone roo-trial, I'd guess Liebovitz was intimidated and possibly compensated by the high-profile defense team, which selected her -- specifically -- to adjudicate the non-jury trial. She is a known commodity.

Posted by: perryneheum | August 31, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

If that was the best she could do on that case, I would have said the same thing. Sorry I think her judgement was flawed.

Posted by: bigheadbull2 | August 31, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"Perryneheum," would you care to share with the world the FACTS you have to back up your slanderous accusations against the judge? Would you prefer she had ignored the rule of law and facts that she heard after sitting through the trial for weeks and find the defendants guilty? Many laypersons and lawyers alike knew before the trial was ever started that it would be very difficult for the prosecution to make its case. You do really well making throwing hollow spears at people's characters from a distance. It says something about your own character.

Posted by: MdLaw | September 1, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

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