I Have Come Not to Bury Dan Rather But To Praise Him | Main | Our Judicial Overlords
March 16, 2005

Blame the Jews: Death-Penalty Convictions Challenged Due To Practice of Excluding Jewish Jurors

Simultaneously interesting, obvious, and utterly stupid:

The convictions of dozens of death-row inmates in California are coming under legal scrutiny because of accusations that Jews and black women were excluded from juries in capital trials in Alameda County as "standard practice."

A former Alameda prosecutor, John R. Quatman, made the contentions in a sworn declaration in the habeas corpus case of Fred H. Freeman. Mr. Freeman is a condemned inmate who is seeking to overturn his conviction in 1987 in a killing and robbery at a bar in Berkeley.

Mr. Quatman, who worked for 26 years as a deputy district attorney and prosecuted the case, said the trial judge, Stanley Golde, advised him during jury selection that "no Jew would vote to send a defendant to the gas chamber."

"Judge Golde was only telling me what I already should have known to do," Mr. Quatman's statement said. "It was standard practice to exclude Jewish jurors in death cases."

The problem arises from an earlier SC decision that it constituted a reversible denial of fair trial rights to exclude persons of certain races from a jury.

Trouble is, it was a stupid decision. Yes, in a perfect world, we would like to pretend race and sex mean nothing at all about anything; but it is simply a fact that blacks are less likely to convict blacks, women are less likely to convict anyone, old white guys know who's guilty "jess by lookin' at 'em," etc. The SC's rule was just at odds with common sense and good trial strategy.

And so it goes.

Thanks to Chickpea, or, perhaps, Daddy Chickpea.



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posted by Ace at 05:16 PM

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