Monday, June 21, 2010

People of Color Still Excluded from Southern Juries

The Equal Justice Initiative has released a study of eight southern states showing stark disparities in the representation of African Americans and Latinos on juries. Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy (June 2010). Take a look at least at the executive summary and recommendations -- you'll want to keep going to see more, including both statistical analysis and the the stories of the people excluded from serving and the people convicted by all-white juries.

One striking example (p. 28): An African American woman who had lived in a county for 10 years and worked in the same job for 6 years was excluded because she "had no ties to the community." Instead of shrugging and walking away, she returned to the courthouse daily to observe the trial, including the naps of some white jurors during testimony. After the black defendant was convicted, she visited him in prison and helped him with his successful appeal.

Bryan Stevenson, EJI's executive director, was interviewed on All Things Considered yesterday. Listen to the story (or read a summary) here.

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