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Tag Archives: Jury selection

All White Jury for White Cop Rapist of 12 Black Women

Kangaroo court, anyone? Looks like the “justice system” in Oklahoma is rigged to let this cop get away with rape.

Critics blast all-white jury for Oklahoma cop accused of raping black women and teens

The trial of the former Oklahoma City police officer accused of a string of sexual assaults against black women began this week with an all-white jury.

Daniel Holtzclaw is alleged to have sexually assaulted 12 women and a 17-year-old girl while on duty. Prosecutors have said he targeted middle-aged black women of limited means who had cause to want to avoid the police, such as outstanding warrants.

Though African Americans make up 16% of the population of Oklahoma County there are no black people among the eight men and four women on the jury.

“We’re very disappointed that we don’t have any minorities on there … We’re not saying justice can’t prevail but we can be suspicious of it being [run] in a manner,” Oklahoma City National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) president Garland Pruitt told KOCO local news, which reported that three black men were not picked from a pool of 24 potential jurors.

The racial composition of juries is attracting national scrutiny. On Monday the supreme court heard a case about alleged racial bias in jury selection during a 1987 murder trial that could impact the way jurors are picked in future; last month a judge in Kentucky dismissed an entire jury because he felt it was not representative of the community.

All-white juries in Oklahoma are “relatively uncommon but certainly not unheard of”, especially outside large urban areas, said Brady Henderson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma.

In addition to exclusionary tactics such as peremptory challenges, Henderson said systemic factors risk making Oklahoma juries unrepresentative, especially in federal court where jurors’ names are taken from voter registration lists and a disproportionate number of black people are not registered. In state court, where Holtzclaw is being tried, names are culled from drivers’ licences and ID cards.

Holtzclaw faces 36 charges, including rape, forcible oral sodomy and sexual battery, and could be sentenced to life imprisonment. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors contend that Holtzclaw began committing sex crimes in December 2013, when he coerced a hospitalised woman who was high on drugs and handcuffed to a bedrail into performing oral sex, with the promise that the charges would be dropped.

His youngest accuser said she was 17 when he raped her on her mother’s porch after groping her, ostensibly to search for drugs.

A college football standout who became an officer after failing to reach the NFL, Holtzclaw worked a 4pm to 2am shift in northeast Oklahoma City. Detectives used GPS records from his patrol car to place him at the scene of the alleged crimes.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2015 in Black History, The New Jim Crow

 

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Justice in Sheets…A Jury of Peers – Dismissing Black Jurors

The process of eliminating black jurors from a trial has been around for a while, even though it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It is a commonly used tool in some parts of the country where the prosecutor’s case is weak, the defendant is black and the victim is white – or to cover some misconduct by Law Enforcement. It typically assures conviction – even when obvious exculpatory evidence exists. Once again – this deception is headed to the Supreme Court, where by the fact of it’s conservative majority – there is little likely to be done about it. I mean – it is hard to believe based on past rulings that Uncle Tommie Clarence would object to a black person being convicted by a jury wearing white robes and hoods.

The Jury Selection has been perfectly fair, Your Honor!

How Prosecutors Get Away With Cutting Black Jurors

A curious thing happened at the trial of Timothy Tyrone Foster, a young black man accused of killing an elderly white woman: every black prospective juror was dismissed. He was convicted, and sentenced to death, by an all-white jury.

Even more curious: there were 42 prospective jurors that morning, five of whom were black.  All dismissed, four of whom by “peremptory challenge,” in which theprosecutor strikes a juror at his or her discretion.  In Georgia, where Foster’s trial took place, prosecutors have ten such options.

Peremptory challenges were entirely unreviewable for most of American history.  That was their function: in addition to dismissals with reasons, they were meant to give prosecutors and defense attorneys (in Georgia, defense attorneys get twenty such challenges) leeway to strike potentially problematic jurors without explanation.

That changed somewhat in 1986, when the Supreme Court decided Batson v. Kentucky.  In Batson, the Court held that using peremptory challenges to strike jurors on the basis of race was unconstitutional.

Foster’s trial, though, took place after Batson.  How is that possible?  BecauseBatson has proven to be almost worthless in practice.  All a prosecutor must do is provide some race-neutral reason for striking jurors, and that is extremely easy to do.  Maybe the juror didn’t make eye contact.  Maybe she was female.  Maybe he looked bored or inattentive—as most of us are at the end of hours of jury duty.

Any of these reasons will do, and so, in Foster’s case and countless others, winning a “Batson challenge” is basically impossible.

Except Foster’s case has turned out to be different.  During the lengthy appeals process (nearly thirty years and counting), the prosecutor’s notes were made public.  And they are laughable and tragic at the same time.  Black prospective jurors are annotated as B#1, B#2, et cetera.  Weighing the different options, the prosecutor noted that one has “the most potential to choose from out of the four remaining blacks.”  And so on.

And then there were the absurd pretexts the prosecutor provided to satisfyBatson.  First, he listed over thirty different reasons, basically throwing everything against the wall to see what would stick.  He said three didn’t make enough eye contact. He said another was a social worker, which in fact she was not.  He said one was close in age to the 18-year-old defendant; she was 34.

All this make it abundantly clear that race was the predominant factor in striking these jurors, notwithstanding the pretexts given for their dismissals.

And that’s why Foster’s case is now at the Supreme Court, which will have an opportunity to update Batson, and perhaps give it some teeth.  The Court will also, of course, determine the fate of Foster, who is developmentally disabled and who has now spent nearly thirty years on death row.

Batson has failed miserably to prevent race discrimination,” says Stephen Bright, who is Foster’s lawyer, a professor at Yale Law School, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, and one of the leading advocates for criminal justice reform, including abolition of the death penalty.  Bright has been down this road before, having won two Supreme Court cases on race discrimination and jury selection.  And he says that Foster’s case is not unusual in the least.

“What went on at trial was typical,” he told the Daily Beast.  “What’s unusual is we know what’s in the prosecutor’s files.  These notes that show not just a consciousness of race but an obsession with race.”

Batson has failed to prevent discrimination, says Bright, for at least three reasons.

First, “every prosecutor has a handy-dandy list of race-neutral reasons that they give.  They even distribute reasons in advance.  Some state training programs even distribute a list called ‘Articulating Juror Negatives.’”

That’s right, all prosecutors have to do is read from a prewritten list of reasons, and they’ll prevail.  “They just say, ‘take a lot of notes when you strike a black juror.’”

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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The New Jim Crow – Racial Jury Exclusion

Guilty!!!!!!!

Study: Blacks Routinely Excluded From Juries

Twenty-five years ago, Earl Jerome McGahee was charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend.

McGahee, an African-American, was tried by an all-white jury in an Alabama county that was more than 55 percent black.

The district attorney dismissed every one of the 24 blacks who qualified to serve on the jury, including Edith Ferguson, who had worked for the Selma, Ala., Police Department for many years. The reason cited for striking Ferguson from being a juror: “low intelligence.”

Bryan Stevenson of the nonprofit group Equal Justice Initiative tells NPR’s Guy Raz that assertions about intelligence are “one of the most troubling but persistent reasons” given to dismiss potential jurors who are black. Many of those potential jurors are college graduates, Stevenson says.

Last year, McGahee was granted a new trial because of the racially discriminatory jury selection in his original case. But many defendants are not so lucky.

Study Documents ‘Widespread Discrimination’

In a new study, Stevenson’s group details “widespread discrimination” in the selection of jurors across the Deep South. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2010 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Another Rodney King Jury In Oscar Grant Trial?

Hat Tip – NewsOne

No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial

LOS ANGELES — The upcoming trial of a white ex-transit officer charged with killing an unarmed black man in Oakland has already sparked racial tensions in the city, one of the reasons the trial was moved to Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, a jury of seven whites, four Hispanics, one East Indian — and no blacks — was selected to hear the case against former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle, according to KTVU-TV.

Mehserle is accused of murdering Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009 in a shooting that was captured on video by several bystanders. He has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys have said he mistakenly pulled his gun rather than a Taser in an attempt to subdue Grant.

Prosecutors contend he intended to shoot Grant and he used his weapon because officers were losing control of the situation.

The trial could be the most racially polarizing of its kind in California since four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted of beating Rodney King in 1992. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2010 in Giant Negros, News

 

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The New Jim Crow – Jury Selection

The staff of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) has looked closely at jury selection procedures in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. We uncovered shocking evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection in every state. We identified counties where prosecutors have excluded nearly 80% of African Americans qualified for jury service. We discovered majority-black counties where capital defendants nonetheless were tried by all-white juries. We found evidence that some prosecutors employed by state and local governments actually have been trained to exclude people on the basis of race and instructed on how to conceal their racial bias. In many cases, people of color not only have been illegally excluded but also denigrated and insulted with pretextual reasons intended to conceal racial bias.

Funny - But Not Far From the Situation Faced By Many Black Defendants in Certain States

Blacks blocked from serving on Southern juries, study says

In Mississippi, Alvin Robinson, an African-American man, was on trial for murder after he’d allegedly had an altercation with and killed a white man following a frightful traffic incident. During the jury selection for his trial, an African-American woman showed up dutifully for service, but was turned away because she had “no ties to the community,” though she’d worked for the same local company for six years. One by one, the African-Americans who had been summoned were dismissed from service.

In a silent protest to being stricken from the jury for what she suspected to be a thinly-veiled attempt to maintain the racial homogeny of the all-white jury, this woman returned to the courthouse each day, only to watch Mr. Robinson be found guilty for murder (even though three of the jurors slept through portions of the trial) and sentenced to prison. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2010 in The New Jim Crow

 

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