Wednesday, December 8, 2021

How did the shooting death of Black Jogger get an almost all-white jury?

The long-standing practice of allowing lawyers to dismiss potential jurors without assigning any reason has come under intense criticism when it comes to determining whether three white men were responsible for the shooting and murder of a black man, Ahmaud Arbery. guilty or not. who was jogging in the neighborhood of Georgia.

The selection of 11 white jurors and one black man to decide the fate of the three defendants has led to complaints from prosecutors and the victim’s family that the jury selection process was clearly unfair.

Even the judges in the case agreed with prosecutors that the exclusion of black potential jurors seemed like deliberate discrimination. Still, the judge said he had limited authority to intervene after defense lawyers gave reasons that were not about the race to cut jurors.

The trial has drawn new attention to a debate and a growing movement around the US to address “temporary challenges” that allow lawyers to summarily dismiss jurors. Critics say the practice is rife with prejudice and creates a racially imbalanced jury that makes it difficult to bring about equal justice.

How does the strike work?

During jury selection, the defense and prosecution receive a certain number of challenges or assaults, which allows them to dismiss potential jurors without explanation.

Lawyers may also ask to remove a potential juror for cause if they believe the person is biased or lacks ability to serve, although they must explain the potential bias.

Nevertheless, the US Supreme Court has ruled that a peremptory strike cannot be used to dismiss jurors based only on their race. If a judge allows a permanent strike to be challenged, the attorney who wishes to remove a juror must present a “race-neutral” reason for doing so.

But critics say lawyers can avoid abuse challenges as long as they provide a cause that isn’t about race. They also say that the 1986 US Supreme Court decision governing the practice has failed to end discrimination in trials.

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change is coming

Across the country, courts are beginning to change rules to prevent unfair exclusion of potential jurors based on race or ethnicity.

The Washington Supreme Court did so in 2018, saying that judges do not have to find objective discrimination to deny a permanent challenge, and that challenges based on “implied, institutional and unconscious biases” can be dismissed. Is.

The court also said that some of the justifications for removing potential jurors – distrust in the legal system and knowing someone who has been convicted of a crime – are invalid.

In 2020, California adopted a similar set of invalid justifications for permanent strikes. The rule change will begin to apply to criminal trials next year and civil trials in 2026.

Two months ago, the Arizona Supreme Court announced that it was ending permanent strikes beginning January 1.

The two state appellate judges who proposed the change said it was “a clear opportunity to definitively end one of the most obvious sources of racial injustice in the courts.”

In Arizona, Pima County Public Defender Joel Feinman said he does not see prosecutors in his jurisdiction using genetic challenges in a racist way, but believes the practice has led to racially one-sided peaks in other communities. Have given.

While the elimination of permanent challenges would help prevent racial disparities in trials, Feinman said the move also had a drawback: It would make it harder to keep people who are hiding their prejudices — such as for law enforcement. A strong support – far from a jury.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Feinman said.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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