Originally published November 15 2015
White jurors not allowed to serve in Kentucky: judge dismisses entire group of jurors for being 100% white
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) For a nation that used to pride itself on being a "diverse melting pot" of ethnicity, we are devolving into one of the most race-conscious countries on the planet, and it's not a phenomenon that is going to end well.
If it isn't some goofball left-wing academic-turned-cable news channel hostess claiming that the phrase "hard work" is racially insensitive to African-Americans, it is a black judge in Kentucky dismissing an entire jury because there was only one African-American on the panel in an action that implies that everyone else sitting in the jury box is racist.
As reported by WDRB, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Olu Stevens was unhappy with the number of potential black jurors who were called to his court, so he dismissed the entire jury panel and asked for a new group of men and women to be sent up.
"The concern is that the panel is not representative of the community," said Stevens, who ignored the objections of both the defense counsel and the prosecutor in bringing in new jurors.
Can he even do this?As WDRB further reported, locals have seen this act from Stevens before:
And this wasn't the first time Stevens, who is black, has dismissed a jury because he felt it was lacking enough minorities. Now the state Supreme Court is going to determine whether the judge is abusing his power.
Last year, after a 13-member jury that was selected at random for the trial contained no black jurors, a video of the proceedings showed Stevens saying in court that he found it "troublesome" and dismissed the panel at the request of the defense.
"There is not a single African-American on this jury and (the defendant) is an African-American man," Stevens said, according to a video of the trial. "I cannot in good conscience go forward with this jury."
The following day, a new jury panel was called up.
After that first episode, the Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office and Attorney General requested that the Kentucky Supreme Court examine whether Stevens has the authority to dismiss entire jury panels because they lack a certain number of minorities. In October, the state high court agreed to do so.
WDRB further reported:
Jefferson County has long had a problem with minorities being underrepresented on local juries. Several black defendants have complained over the years that they were convicted by an all-white jury - not of their peers.
The Racial Fairness commission - a group made up of local judges, lawyers and citizens - has studied the issue for years, monitored the make-up of jury panels and found them consistently lacking in minorities.
Same judge said he was "offended" by white crime victim's impact statementAt the start of proceedings in the most recent incident of Stevens dismissing an entire jury panel, 14 percent of potential jurors were black, below the estimated 21 percent of all Jefferson County residents. During the previous month, September, just 13 percent of potential jurors were African-American.
"It's a problem," Appeals Court Judge Denise Clayton, head of the commission, told the TV station's news team. "We are not hitting that representation."
That might be true, but should judges be taking it upon themselves to get rid of entire juries? Stevens himself had no comment, nor did Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine.
However, in the first dismissal, prosecutors argued that the jury panel was chosen at random, as it should be. Prosecutors added that dismissing a jury after they had been informed about the case and sending them back to the original pool could taint jurors.
It's hard to know what the state Supreme Court will decide, but if Stevens' actions are found to have merit, you can bet that his two cases of dismissing jurors because they didn't contain enough minorities will spark similar actions by other judges in other states in the future. That could make it even more difficult to find "the right balance" on juries.
According to this report, Stevens let a black, armed home invader off with probation while berating the man's white victims in court.
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