Jury selection to continue today in brothers' trial on drug kingpin charges

March 31, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

After spending all of yesterday questioning potential jurors individually, lawyers and a Circuit Court judge involved in the largest marijuana case in Anne Arundel County history failed to finish picking a panel.

They said they expect to complete jury selection today and begin opening arguments in the case of James Mitchell Emory, 47, and his brother Roger Lee Emory, 43, who face drug kingpin charges.

The brothers and eight others were arrested Oct. 29 in pre-dawn raids on their homes and storage lockers where police confiscated about 400 pounds of marijuana.

Sixty-four of the 150 potential jurors raised their hands yesterday when Circuit Judge H. Chester Goudy Jr. asked if they had heard or read media reports or other talk of the case. Lawyers began questioning jurors at the judge's bench, but soon moved to a separate room.

The potential jurors said almost uniformly that what they remembered most about the case was the arrest of James Emory's wife, Patricia, 45, the former principal of Severna Park Elementary School. Charges against her were dropped.

"The one thing that stands out in my mind is that it seems to have something to do with a high-level school official," one man recalled.

Many said they had read about the case and were interested in Mrs. Emory and her situation.

Others said they wondered whether Mrs. Emory knew of her husband's alleged activities or not.

"I believe what I read in the newspaper," one woman said. "But I really haven't formed an opinion on it yet."

Mrs. Emory's name appears on a list of potential state witnesses, but it is unclear whether she would be called.

The Emory brothers listened intently as the jurors answered questions. At one point, James Emory chuckled when a man admitted to the judge he had smoked marijuana.

Judge Goudy reminded jurors that newspaper articles are not evidence in the case.

Reports yesterday that two of the Emorys' co-defendants -- Philip B. Dulany, 48, of Pasadena, and George T. Johnson Jr., 47, of Glen Burnie -- pleaded guilty to lesser charges also presented problems for the defense.

Defense attorneys asked whether those reports affected the potential jurors' opinion of the Emory brothers' guilt or innocence.

"It bothers me a bit that they took lesser charges," one man said. "I would like to think that it didn't, but it does bug me."

Dulany and Johnson pleaded guilty to importation of marijuana and possession of 50 pounds or more of marijuana with intent to distribute. Dulany also pleaded gulity to possession of cocaine.

They face terms ranging from 30 years to 34 years, but avoided a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years had they been convicted on the kingpin charges.

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