Lawyers and the judge must narrow the field to 27 people who meet the qualifications to sit on the jury. The defense and prosecution each can then strike six jurors without cause - narrowing the field further to the 15 needed for trial.

During the seven weeks it took to select a jury in the trial against Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, Robert J. Cleary, lead federal prosecutor in the case, looked for one type of juror: "People who are not that willing to forgive and forget."

Cleary, now a defense lawyer in New York, said yesterday that he expects prosecutors in the case against Muhammad would be doing the same.

"From the prosecution's perspective, they're going to be looking for people with a much more conservative bent," he said. "Government employees, retirees, law enforcement types."

Jose F. Anderson, a law professor and director of the Litigation Skills Program at the University of Baltimore, said defense team lawyers would be seeking another type.

"All they're looking for is mercy," Anderson said. "You're looking for tangible evidence that you have jurors who are willing to listen and say, 'I'll wait to make up my mind later.'"

In their only public statement yesterday, defense lawyers thanked the citizens of Virginia Beach for their hospitality.

Greenspun said the defense team would take no questions during the course of the trial, and added, "Here we are and we're ready to go and we hope to have a fair trial with a jury from Virginia Beach."

A reporter then shouted out one question anyway: "Why aren't you taking any questions?"

Sun staff writers Kimberly A.C. Wilson and Andrea F. Siegel contributed to this article.