Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, also know as “El Chapo,” is considered to be the world’s most powerful drug trafficker. He is known for being the boss of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico, which has been linked to many violent crimes. “El Chapo” has been charged with international drug trafficking, conspiring to murder rivals, gun charges, and money laundering. If convicted, “El Chapo” is facing life in prison.
The jury selection for one of the most notorious trials to take place in the United States, expected to last more than four months, began on Monday, November 5, 2018. The prosecutorial and defense teams will be selecting twelve (12) jurors and six (6) alternates from over 100 potential jurors. This particular case poses many challenges for the jury selection process. When selecting a jury, it is vital to select individuals who have not heard, read, or seen anything about the defendant, the case, or the people involved. This allows the jury decision to be free of bias and based solely on the evidence presented within the courtroom. However, Brooklyn US District Court Judge Brian Cogan noted, “[t]here are not many cases whose allegations are dramatized in popular television productions and podcasts before the trial has even begun.” Potential jurors will be asked various questions on controversial topics such as the legalization of narcotics and their experiences with substance abuse and violent crimes. Additionally, because this case will be highly publicized and involves many politically charged topics, jurors may fear a connection between their verdict and identity, thus, putting their lives at risk for retaliation. In response to such challenges, Judge Cogan has ordered that the jury be anonymous and partly sequestered and jurors will be transported to and from the courthouse by armed US Marshals.
After being delayed twice, the world patiently awaits the trial and verdict for one of the world’s most powerful people, “El Chapo.”