Skip to comments.What if Zimmerman Gets an All White Jury?
Posted on 04/26/2012 12:00:02 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Accused murderer of Trayvon Martin George Zimmerman almost certainly will eventually face a jury. And what if that jury is all white? A recent Duke University study showed that all white juries in Florida were more likely to convict a black defendant than mixed ethnic juries. Though Zimmerman isnt black, the defense almost certainly will pull out all stops to make the case that Zimmerman was the real victim and that Martin was the aggressor. In essence this means that jurors will be asked to do a defendant and victim role reversal and put Martin on trial.
The massive barrage of digs, innuendoes, and slanders of Martins character and actions that fateful night has been relentless since the killing. So the rule that black defendants inevitably get the short end of the jury stick will be very much in play in the case against Zimmerman. Thats where the danger of an all white jury comes in in the Martin slaying. It could easily happen. Two years ago a Bureau of Justice Statistics report found racial discrimination in jury selection is still rampant, even blatant. A Supreme Court ruling and other court rulings that ban all white or non-black juries have been in far too many cases no more than paper decisions that have had little effect in insuring a diverse jury in cases involving black defendants. The same holds true where blacks have been the victims, and whites or non-blacks the defendants, as is the case with Zimmerman.
The report found that prosecutors and judges in eight Southern states used a litany of dodges, tactics, and legal ploys to outright exclude blacks from juries, or whittle the number of blacks on juries down. In capital cases, some jurisdictions dont even go through the legal pretense of trying to get a racially balanced jury. In North Carolina at least 26 current death row defendants were sentenced by all-white juries. A new North Carolina state law, the Racial Justice Act, and a recent courageous ruling by an African-American judge to overturn the death sentence of a convicted black murderer under the act drew national attention to the blatant bias in all white jury decided cases.
The report also found that a racially diverse jury weighed evidence and testimony longer and more carefully, brought different perspectives and life experiences to the deliberations, and made fewer factual errors. These are crucial factors in the rare cases where cops are charged with killing young black or Hispanics. A jury with no blacks, composed of mostly older middle class whites, and non-black ethnics, is much more likely to believe the testimony of police and prosecution witnesses than black witnesses, defendants, or even the victims.
Prosecutors have a big task in trying to overcome pro-police attitudes and the negative racial stereotypes. Two Penn State University studies on racial perceptions and stereotypes, one in 2003 and a follow-up study in 2008, found that many whites are likely to associate pictures of blacks with violent crimes, and in some cases where crimes were not committed by blacks they misidentified the perpetrator as an African-American. In three major racially charged cases in past years where blacks were the victims either beaten or killed by white cops Rodney King, Oscar Grant and Sean Bell, defense attorneys depicted all three men as the aggressors who posed a threat to the officers. They played up and exaggerated their run-ins with the law to depict young blacks as crime prone, menacing figures. The idea was to subtly and openly play on the prejudices, stereotypes, and negative beliefs of many white jurors toward young blacks.
Even when the victim has no criminal record and poses no threat to officers, the negative racial typecast still kicks in. This was the case when white jurors acquitted the four New York City cops tried for gunning down African immigrant, Amadou Diallo in 1999. They claimed that they feared for their lives.
Legal experts blame the paucity of blacks on many juries not on deliberate racial discrimination, but to the paltry number of blacks in the jury pool, changing demographics (the city is majority Hispanic, Asian and white), and the failure of blacks to heed jury summons.
This begs the issue. It doesn't much matter how few or how many blacks are in the jury pool, if prosecutors (or defense attorneys when the accused is white and victim black) use a storehouse of challenges, questionnaires, and profiles, to systematically strike blacks from a jury. And sometimes, they dont even bother with the ploys.
The Dallas Morning News revealed in 2006 that Dallas prosecutors systematically dumped blacks from juries for years. The Supreme Court tossed the conviction of Texas death row inmate Thomas Miller-El based on a Dallas prosecutor's brazen racial jury sanitizing. Yet prosecutors still try to get as many whites, and as few blacks as possible, on juries.
The Zimmerman case jury may be fair and impartial. But to pretend that racial bias doesn't exist in racially charged trials is self-serving and dangerous. His case could again cast an ugly glare on jury race bias.
One thing is for sure, Best Buy will be looted repeatedly.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Mr. Obama and General Holder could be out of office in nine months, God willing.
If gets an all white jury, he has a pretty good chance of being judged on the evidence rather than on his race and ethnicity as a “white” Hispanic Jew.
Like “wise Latinas” I suppose.
Turns out he’s a white, black, Hispanic Jew.
George Zimmerman: the black, Hispanic, Peruvian, kind-hearted non-white, not-racist poster boy
George Zimmerman Has Black Roots
You’re 45 years too late.
There were 12 jurors in the Casey Anthony case .
He is the perfect genuine American “mutt.”
3.270. Number of Jurors
Twelve persons shall constitute a jury to try all capital cases, and 6 persons shall constitute a jury to try all other criminal cases.
Zimmerman isn't being charged with a capital crime. So it must be 6 jurors. Unless I've misunderstood.
But would you love to see South Dallas burn live on Fox?
Personally, I think if anything burns, it will be North Miami area or the black parts of Orlando.
“But would you love to see South Dallas burn live on Fox?”
I would have no particular objection.
Interesting to remember who the Governor was then.
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