Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Earlier this year in Atlanta, 600 prospective jurors were summoned for the high-profile trial of 12 public school teachers and principals accused of correcting students’ answers on standardized tests. Even then, defense attorney Bob Rubin challenged the pool because he said it underrepresented African-Americans.
“All of the defendants are African-American,” Rubin says. “And if they’re entitled to a fair cross section of their peers, then their peers ought to be represented correctly in the jury pool.”
The judge dismissed that challenge. He also excused anyone who said it would be too much of a financial burden to not work during the six-month trial. But when a disproportionate percentage of those people ended up being African-American, the judge said he would call them back in and order their employers to continue paying them if they were selected. After all, Rubin says, race matters.
“In my 28 years of experience, black jurors are generally more suspicious of law enforcement than white jurors,” he says. “They tend to take what the government says with a grain of salt more than white jurors do — and to me, that mattered.”
Jury selection in that case took six weeks.
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