ADHD May be an Issue in Sen. Don Balfour's Trial
Jury Selection questions hint that defense strategy could focus on attention deficit disorder
Jury selection in the criminal case of state Sen. Don Balfour wrapped up Monday afternoon, with opening statements starting late in the day.
Balfour's trial is expected to last just a few days as both sides have stipulated many of the facts.
Lead prosecutor David McLaughlin with the attorney general's office said the state will call only three witnesses, including a Waffle House employee, and McLaughlin expects to rest by Tuesday afternoon.
"This is not a case about dollars," McLaughlin told jurors in his opening statement. "This is a case about loyalty and honor and respect of the system."
By 3:30 p.m., both sides had agreed on 12 jurors plus one alternate.
Jury selection questions hinted at Balfour's possible defense strategy.
Balfour, a Republican who represents the Snellville area, and a Waffle House executive, faces an 18-count indictment on charges including theft and false statements related to 16 of his legislative reimbursement claims from 2007 through 2011. The state Law Department has accused Balfour of claiming mileage and per diem expenses for days in which he was not in Georgia. Balfour has admitted to mistakes in his claims but has denied intentional wrongdoing.
William Hill Jr., a former Superior Court judge and assistant attorney general, handled voir dire for Balfour's defense team, which also included former Albany district attorney Kenneth Hodges III. Both lawyers are with Rafuse Hill & Hodges.
Hill focused most of his questions on potential jurors' trust in elected officials, as well as their diligence toward financial bookkeeping at home and at work.
When Hill asked whether anyone would have a hard time believing an elected official, only one prospective juror raised his hand. But later, when Hill asked whether anyone in the pool believed that elected officials would spend taxpayer money to further their personal agendas, all raised their hands.