There won’t be a jury in the next couple of days: defense attorney

Judge Richard A. Caputo said he hoped the jury selection would be over by the end of the day just before breaking for lunch on the second day of the trial of the two Shenandoah, Pa., men charged with beating to death a Mexican undocumented immigrant.

But attorney James A. Swetz, who represents Brandon Piekarsky, said that the jury selection is far from over.
“I think we’re a couple of days away (from having a jury),” he said.

Defense attorney James Swetz

Swetz did not venture to reveal what they are asking the prospective jurors.

“It’s simply an effort on the part of the government and the defense to bring people in who can judge fairly and impartially based upon the evidence they hear on the courtroom,” he said.

The lawyer said that there are no jurors yet chosen to sit on the jury bench during the trial.

Derrick M. Donchak, 20, and Brandon J. Piekarsky, 18, face life in prison if found guilty of the charges stemming from the beating that took the life of Luis Eduardo Ramírez Zavala in July 2008.

Individual questioning continued inside a private room at the William J. Nealon Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse in Scranton.


About Gustavo Martínez Contreras

was born in Texas, brewed in Mexico City, seasoned in the Mexico-United States border, aged walking the streets of Philadelphia. He had a short-lived stint eating grits, fried chicken, and peaches in Atlanta. He later became a béisbol writer for El Diario de Nueva York. He has written about immigrant communities in English, Spanish, and some Spanglish. Although he does not have a shelf full of awards, Gustavo has received thank you notes and hugs from people who have trusted him with their stories. His work has appeared in Voices of New York, El Diario/La Prensa, Dallas’ Al Día, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Philadelphia Weekly, Radio Bilingüe, Latina Lista,, among others. He is currently pursuing a master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
This entry was posted in crimen de odio, Hate crime, Immigration, Luis Ramírez, Shenandoah. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to There won’t be a jury in the next couple of days: defense attorney

  1. majii says:

    I’ve been following this case since these two bigots killed Mr. Zavala (excuse me if I chose the wrong name to refer to him.) The decision reached in the state case was a joke, but not unusual as this is something that has happened to people of color throughout this country’s history. I’m African American and grew up under segregation in this country, so I’m very cognizant of the fact that the lives of some of us are not considered as valuable as the lives of others. I am hoping that both of these guys receive life sentences for this crime. The Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes bill that the president signed into law last year was intended for use in instances like this one where state juries fail to hold bigots like these accountable for their actions. Neither of these guys should ever be allowed to walk the earth free ever again because they attacked an innocent man mainly because they didn’t like the fact that his girlfriend/fiancée was white. No one should be deprived of his/her life just because someone else doesn’t like the way he/she lives. I understand the very pressing need for justice in this case because there have been few days in my 57 years living in the state of GA when I have have not been subjected to racism, bigotry, and/or discrimination in one way or another.

    I’m bookmarking your site so that I can keep up with this trial as the process moves forward.



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