Black judge under scrutiny after dismissing entire jury panel based on race

Black judge under scrutiny after dismissing entire jury panel based on race

The Supreme Court of Kentucky is looking into the actions of a Jefferson (Ky.) Circuit Court Judge, who halted a drug trial last week, dismissed the entire jury, and asked that a new panel by sent in.

Judge Olu Stevens graced these pages in April, when he railed out at a white family who had submitted a victim impact statement to the court noting that their 3-year-old daughter was still “in constant fear of black men” following a home invasion by two armed black thugs. Stevens took the parents to task for “accepting” the child’s racist “mentality and fostering … stereotypes.”

This time around, Stevens’s beef is that the jury selected in the case was “not representative of the community,” which is to say the composition was all-white. According to WDRB, Stevens’s fix was to swap out the jury for one that better reflected his notion of fairness.

This is not the first time Stevens has pulled this stunt. Last November, he found it “troublesome” that all 13 members of a jury selected for a robbery trial were white. “There is not a single African-American on this jury and [the defendant] is an African-American man,” he said. “I cannot in good conscience go forward with this jury.”

This time, however, the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and Attorney General have asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to hear arguments on whether Stevens has the authority to dismiss jury panels because of a lack of minorities.

[I]n the November case, prosecutors argued the jury panel was chosen at random, as is typically done.

And prosecutors said dismissing a jury after they had learned about the case and sending them back to be with the original pool could taint jurors.

But Stevens said both sides should “erase” what happened with jury selection from their minds and pretend it didn’t happen. In fact, the judge forbade each side from making any motions based on anything the previous jurors had said and referred to the questioning of the second batch of jurors as the first day of trial, according to court documents.

The presumption that a white jury can’t deliver a fair and impartial verdict is of course racist.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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