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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Racial Discrimination is at Issue With Kentucky Juries

From courier-journal.com: While the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear -- lawyers can't use race to pick a jury -- in Jefferson County, Kentucky, prosecutors are removing African-American jurors at a higher rate than white jurors, especially when the defendants are black. And defense lawyers are removing whites at much higher rates than blacks, in part because they say they are trying to even the playing field, a Courier-Journal analysis shows.

This is occurring while a commission of judges, lawyers and citizens tries to find why African Americans are underrepresented on Jefferson County juries.

The commission's works follows a 2005 Courier-Journal series that found that people who live in predominantly African-American areas of Jefferson County are less likely to serve on juries than those who live in mostly white areas.

University of Iowa law professor David Baldus said the data suggest "systemic racial discrimination" in how Jefferson County prosecutors and defense attorneys are choosing jurors.

"It's the same old story: Blacks are not welcome in the eyes of prosecutors and welcome in the eyes of defense attorneys," said Baldus, who has written extensively on the subject and consulted for courts on racial issues. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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