Blacks Regularly Excluded From Southern Juries

All-white juries in majority black counties
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2010 9:08 AM CDT
A new report exposes a tradition of all-white jury, judge and prosecutor.   (AP Photo/Fred Prouser, Pool)

(Newser) – In the Deep South, DAs strike black college graduates from juries for "low intelligence," black 28-year-olds for being "too young," and black 43-year-olds for being "too old." A new study by the non-profit Equal Justice Initiative finds that potential black jurors are routinely excluded from juries in that region—pointing to one case in which a black defendant's "jury of his peers" was all a 55% black Alabama county. The study, which looked at eight Southern states, found some counties where as many as 80% of blacks who had qualified to serve were excluded.

While excluding people from juries on the basis of race is illegal, prosecutors can name any other reason they want for dismissing a juror—a privilege that is abused in "widespread discrimination" in the selection of Southern juries, the report claims. "It is an area of the law where there has been almost no enforcement," an Equal Justice Initiative spokesman told NPR. "The culture has tolerated this all-white jury, white prosecutor, white judge phenomenon, because that's what people have seen for decades."

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