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Jury Without Jews Request Rejected by New York City Judge

You cannot exclude someone for reasons beyond their control - ethinicity, race, etc, that's basic common sense.  And to clarify, this defendent was not referring to religion, which you can choose.  She wanted to screen out anyone of Jewish ethnicity by DNA test - meaning whether they practiced or not, if they were Jewish by genetics, she wanted them out. 

In this case, it's pretty cut and dried that she would've been found guilty no matter who was on the jury.

What about a more abstract - if attorneys attempt to screen out members of hate groups from jury pools whenever they can, should the same apply in reverse - screening out the targets of hate groups when a member is on trial, or is that merely yet another consequence of their right to free speech?  Ignoring however personally distasteful that might be - isn't it grounds for appeal?

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NotPanicking

Asked by NotPanicking at 4:55 PM on Mar. 12, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 51 (421,172 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • I agree, you can't ban anyone based on race, gender, creed or sexual orientation. I'm glad it was rejected.
    3libras

    Answer by 3libras at 5:00 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • Glad to see some judges have a right ind in this country.
    LostSoul88

    Answer by LostSoul88 at 5:01 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • I believe that eac side is allowed to screen out so many individuals upon examination. So if the lawyers detects leanings that he or she feels is not benefical to their client they can simply reject them. The number is limited and I do not know what it is. They can not do a blanket dismissalof any group but you can assume that the people they reject ma have been excluded because of race or whatever individually.r.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 5:02 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • I believe each side has a certain number of people that can be dismissed without giving a reason, but I'm glad the judge rejected a blanket dismissal of a certain group--based on DNA, no less. It takes some nerve to even request that!
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 5:20 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • I'm fine with certain kinds of screening. I mean, you don't want a jury of nothing but KKK members when the defendant is a black man. But aside from screening to ensure personal prejudices/biases aren't going to come into play, there should be no screening. Of course, they're going to eliminate those they feel won't be sympathetic to their side, but to screen out based on race, ethnicity, gender, etc. when it doesn't relate to anything else is ridiculous.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 6:00 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • Of course, they're going to eliminate those they feel won't be sympathetic to their side, but to screen out based on race, ethnicity, gender, etc. when it doesn't relate to anything else is ridiculous.

    Here's what had me thinking about it - I originally saw this posted on a friend's fb, and one of the comments mentioned what happens when the defendant is innocent of the specific crime, but convicted because they're in some kind of hate group by a jury made up in part by the group they target. Is that just desserts, or should it be avoided?

    Then I thought of something else - a different friend of mine who took up shaving his head when his hairline receded, but stopped because his hair combined with his motorcycle boots had him accused more than once of being a skinhead (he wasn't remotely). If he were ever accused of something and the DA tried the skinhead motive, would he have been convicted for a shaved head?
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 6:46 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • when the defendant is innocent of the specific crime, but convicted because they're in some kind of hate group by a jury made up in part by the group they target. Is that just desserts, or should it be avoided?

    That was kind of my point. Just like you wouldn't want a jury made up of KKK members for a black defendant, you also wouldn't want made up of nothing but black people when the defendant is a KKK member. To me, screening to ensure a personal bias won't come into play (whether that's a man's hatred toward women, a white person's towards blacks, or a woman who's been raped and now blames all men, or whatever) is acceptable. The idea of a jury is to be judged by other members of society, but not by other members who are certain to find you guilty no matter what. It's supposed to be people who can be fair, listen to the evidence and based on that evidence, decide your guilt or innocence.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 7:04 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • Considering that you need all the participants in the jury to agree to a guilty decision, my guess would be no. The onlyway would be if the entire jury was of XYZ group or leanings. Since both the prosecutor and the defence has the right to dismiss a certain number and since the call goes out for people to appear for jury duty on a random basis, I would say that would be unlikely.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 12:15 AM on Mar. 13, 2013

  • The onlyway would be if the entire jury was of XYZ group or leanings

    You have an awful lot of faith in people not saying whatever gets them home faster.
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 12:43 AM on Mar. 13, 2013

  • Yes I have faith in people but again they are only allowed to dismiss a few individuals. It seems to me it is 6 each but I am probably wrong about that. I have faith in people, but I am not naive.  I know that people will often do what suits their own ends.  I know a lot who will do anything to get out of jury duty.  It is sad but true.   Still for all the remaining jurors to be of a certain leaning would be long odds.

    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 1:00 AM on Mar. 13, 2013

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