The state's highest court has ordered a lower court judge to report on whether there were flaws in the jury selection process at the trial of Dr. Dirk Greineder, the prominent Wellesley allergist who was convicted in 2001 of killing his wife while the two were walking in a park in their affluent suburb.
Greineder at his 2001 trial
The Supreme Judicial Court acted Friday after Greineder's attorney raised questions about the voir dire, the process in which jurors are questioned to determine their suitability to serve, that was conducted at the trial. Attorney Jamie Sultan contended in a hearing earlier this month that the voir dire had been closed, violating Greineder's right to a public trial.
The court asked Superior Court Judge Paul Chernoff, who had presided over the case, to make findings on a number of questions, including who was present in the courtroom during the voir dire, whether there was a sign on the door keeping people out, whether court officers kept people out, and whether the defendant or his lawyer asked for, or agreed to, the procedures.
In a case that drew national attention, a jury found Greineder guilty of murdering his wife, Mabel, by beating her with a hammer and slitting her throat at the Wellesley park on Halloween in 1999. Prosecutors had argued that the defendant killed his wife of 32 years to conceal his secret sex life. The jury rejected his claim that his wife had been slain by an unknown killer. Greineder was sentenced to life in prison but has continued to fight his convictions.
The court asked Chernoff to report his findings within 60 days. It said Chernoff could conduct an evidentiary hearing but wasn't required to do so. Chernoff's clerk didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
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