Thursday, June 16, 2005

Jury Rigging

Ed Treleven of the Wisconsin State Journal writes a brutal piece today about how the government is trying to fix the "problem" of all white juries in Dane County. For those unfamiliar, Dane County here in Southern Wisconsin includes the city of Madison. As background, I should tell you that from my standpoint, I don't see any minorities during the day, except for maybe a Mexican or two at the convenience store I stop at every morning. Not saying it is good or bad, just telling the truth.

From the article:

"Everybody knows what the problem is," said Jim Cooley, a UW-Madison Law School professor with the school's legal defense program. "For minorities, they have to move far more often than stable, white, middle-class folks."
Note there is no proof of this and no real reason. Typical for a mainstream media piece to just lay out statements and not be able to back them up with anything besides the person's credentials. Secondly, this statement is totally racist. It assumes that minorities cannot be "stable, middle-class folks". I wonder what some of my neighbors who have lived in my subdivision longer than me who are minorities would think of that.

Also from the article:

According to the 2000 census, 3.3 percent of Dane County's adult population is black. But a 2002 study by Pam Oliver, a chairwoman of the UW- Madison sociology department, found that during the 1990s, 58 percent of those sent to prison from Dane County were black.
Well, now we are getting somewhere. Is it possible that most juries are all white because only 3.3% of the people in the county are black?

Another whopper:

Many black criminal defendants, believing they cannot get a fair shake from a white jury, take plea deals rather than go to trial, said Assistant Public Defender Dee Dee Watson, a longtime member of the jury committee.
Again no data, no references, just an off the cuff statement by a Public Defender.

This article is a joke and is very indicative of the sorry state of not only the news you read but the journalism trade as a whole. Note that in the article no one really takes the bull by the horns and asks why there is so much crime by blacks. Rather than try to fix that problem, the public servants would prefer to stack the jury. One last unbelievable statement from the article:

Even a single minority juror can educate white jurors on cultural issues that might seem trivial to whites but could make a difference in their perception of testimony or evidence, Watson said.
Like what? Could you please just once give me one example? If I were on a jury what is a "cultural issue that might seem trivial" to me that would change my view of the case? Yet again, no proof, no data, just theory - and bad theory at best.

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