Kohberger Defense Busted Trying To Reach Out To Jurors Before Judge Banned Action

 March 28, 2024

In the quiet town of Moscow, Idaho, a legal battle is stirring that could have national implications.

Bryan Kohberger's defense team is pushing back against a judge's order that could influence their client's fate before the trial begins.

Judge's Order Halts Defense's Pre-Trial Strategy

Fox News reported that the legal team defending Bryan Kohberger, the man charged with the chilling murders of four University of Idaho students, is currently locked in a dispute with the judiciary. Defense attorney Anne Taylor has taken issue with an order by Judge John Judge, which prohibits the defense from conducting a survey of potential jurors in Latah County.

The defense insists that this survey is critical to their preparation for a possible change of venue—a move they believe is vital given the extensive publicity surrounding the case.

The heart of the defense's argument lies in protecting Kohberger's constitutional rights. Taylor contends that the prohibition infringes on the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of due process, implying that the ban was imposed without the defense's ability to argue its necessity and purpose. With a scheduled hearing on the matter, the defense is eager to overturn the order and proceed with its survey, designed to gauge potential biases within the jury pool.

In a motion to rescind the ban, Anne Taylor stated: "The late Friday afternoon filing was a strategic action by the State," indicating a belief that the timing and nature of the prosecution's maneuver were intended to disadvantage the defense.

The Controversy Surrounding Juror Surveys

The defense's survey, led by social psychologist Bryan Edelman, sought to contact 400 Latah County residents by phone to assess potential juror bias, a standard practice in high-profile cases, particularly those involving the death penalty. However, the survey's content came under fire, with Taylor admitting that many of the questions regarding media influence were not entirely accurate.

The prosecution, led by Latah County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Thompson, raised the alarm about the survey, suggesting that it overstepped bounds and could unduly sway the jury pool. This led to the judge's swift intervention to halt the survey, a decision that has since become the fulcrum of the defense's challenge.

David Gelman, a defense attorney, spoke to the importance of the survey in preparing for a change-of-venue hearing: "In order to gather sufficient evidence to support their application, the defense retained an expert who ‘sampled’ the potential juror pool to assess potential bias in Latah County."

Publicity and the Right to a Fair Trial

The murders of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin have, unsurprisingly, drawn significant media attention, both nationally and globally. This spotlight has cast a shadow over the proceedings, with the defense arguing that such exposure might taint the jury pool, necessitating a move to a less biased community. Yet, the prosecution maintains that the pervasive reach of the media may render such a change of venue moot, as potential bias could be widespread.

Kohberger, seen in red jail attire during a court appearance in Pennsylvania, represents a figure at the center of a case that has grasped the public's attention. His background as a criminology Ph.D. student at Washington State University adds a layer of complexity to the narrative, stirring both curiosity and horror.

Edwina Elcox, another defense attorney, has expressed confidence in the defense's methods: "I highly doubt the defense did anything to run afoul of the court's order, and I think the defense is absolutely doing its due diligence," highlighting the need for thorough preparation in such a high-stakes case.


The debate over Bryan Kohberger's defense team's right to survey potential jurors in Latah County underscores the delicate balance between a defendant's rights and the court's duty to maintain an impartial jury. The defense's claim that their survey is a legitimate part of due process is at the core of this dispute. It is essential to ensure Kohberger receives a fair trial amid widespread media coverage. However, the prosecution and the judge view the survey as potentially prejudicial. With the upcoming hearing, all eyes are on how the court will navigate these legal waters as the defense seeks to overturn the ban and the prosecution upholds it as a safeguard against jury pool contamination. This case, already tragic in its origins, is now a crucible for the legal principles that underpin the American judicial system.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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