A challenge to the judiciary’s “hybrid” jury selection failed to derail New Jersey’s first jury trial since the COVID-19 pandemic after a judge found Monday that defense lawyers’ claims about a less-than-representative jury pool were meritless.

Preliminary selection of jurors for the arson trial of Wildemar Dangcil yielded a pool whose demographics are comparable to those selected in Bergen County before the pandemic, Superior Court Judge Robert Vinci said in denying an application for an order to show cause challenging the juror array. The judge issued his ruling after hearing testimony from counsel, which included a deputy attorney general who appeared on behalf of the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

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