Lion of the Blogosphere

Peremptory challenges in the NY Times

NY Times article about racial bias in peremptory challenges.

It should be pointed out that the Supreme Court approves of our adversarial criminal justice system in which the prosecutor tries to get a conviction and the defense attorney tries to get his client acquitted. Within that scheme, peremptory challenges are considered perfectly constitutional with respect to the rights of the defendant because both sides are allowed to reject jurors they think would be biased against their side.

The Batson case held that it was the jurors’ rights which were being violated because the black jurors were being unfairly denied the right to serve on a jury! Isn’t that funny? Most people try to avoid jury duty. (Although I wanted to get on a jury because my employer was paying my salary and the job sucked; serving on a jury would have been a lot more fun for the same salary. But I wouldn’t have been so excited about it if I were a freelancer or a business owners.)

Going back to the article, however, the article actually demonstrates that to the extent that prosecutors are violating Batson to exclude black jurors, they are acting perfectly rationally because the article presented statistics which show that the more black jurors there are, the more acquittals there are. The article portrays this as being unfair to blacks, however the truth of criminal justice is that something like 98% of defendants are actually guilty, and juries do a pretty bad job of sorting out the 2% who aren’t. (When I had an internship at the prosecutor’s office in Phoenix, they told me that every defendant was guilty because the job of the prosecutor is to represent the interests of the public and not to put innocent people in prison, but I think that’s not always the case, so I made up the 98% number.)

Because the victims of black criminals are usually black as well, prosecutors using peremptory challenges can be seen as bringing justice for victimized blacks rather than unfairly discriminating against factually guilty black criminals. But that’s not how the NYT chooses to spin it.

A much better argument for drastically reducing the number of challenges allowed, both for cause as well as peremptory ones, is because it’s incredibly inefficient to voir dire 75 prospective jurors in order to empanel 14 of them, which is what happened when I did jury duty in New York City. Everyone in the jury pool, regardless of their race or social class, appeared to be pissed off at the incredibly inefficient New York jury procedures. These shenanigans make regular people hate serving on jury duty. But this angle was completely ignored in the article.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 16, 2015 at 9:14 am

Posted in Crime, Law

39 Responses

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  1. I don’t know how much data are available, but it would be interesting to see the numbers for how often black jurors vote to convict if a perp is white and the victim black vs. black on black or black on white/Asian/hispanic. It could be that blacks are quite biased in favor of black perps and black victims of non-black perps. If there exists such a pattern and it is at variance with other groups, then it is much harder to make the case for their “right” (how stupid, it is a duty) to serve on a jury.

    not too late

    August 16, 2015 at 10:07 am

    • I will just add that I wonder if this is one of those areas of sociology that sociologists don’t have time to research because they are too eat up with researching gays and trannies.

      not too late

      August 16, 2015 at 10:09 am

      • Sociologists don’t actually research. They gave up empirical work decades ago.


        August 16, 2015 at 12:57 pm

  2. Why do the blacks commit so many crimes?


    August 16, 2015 at 10:13 am

  3. Also, although peremptory challenges are mostly unquestioned, you are not supposed to do so based on race or gender. So if you are striking all the black people, you should try to come up with another reason and be ready to defend it, though neither defense nor prosecutor calls out the other side very often.

    I am a defense attorney and former prosecutor. Now as a defense attorney hoping for a “diverse” jury panel, I am usually disappointed by the small amount of black people who are on my jury panels. Since it live in a medium size fairly diverse city, I assume that this is because black people are disproportionally not showing up for jury duty. The prosecutor then has a pretty easy job of getting rid of the few remaining. The trial Lion was on must have been a serious case to have 14 jurors (12 + 2 alternates). Where I live this is reserved for capital cases (Mandatory life or possible death). Otherwise they would likely have just needed 7 (6+1).


    August 16, 2015 at 10:27 am

    • In New York, all felonies have a full panel of 12+2.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 16, 2015 at 11:57 am

      • What a waste of resources. Better for defendant’s though, since that gives less of a chance of a unanimous verdict.


        August 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    • How do they get on the jury list? by voter registration or by driver’s license too?

      Mrs Stitch

      August 16, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      • Depends on the State. Used to be voter registration where I live, which naturally give a better quality (depending on what you are looking for) juror. But they switched over to driver’s licenses.


        August 16, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    • How someone with such conservative pretensions can find a way to support affirmative action boggles the mind.

      Socially Extinct

      August 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      • That’s the one that bothered me the most too. He’s just a centrist. He doesn’t embrace any of the worthwhile elements of conservatism that would actually do good for the base (pro white, pro male policies).

        Lloyd Llewellyn

        August 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      • He came out publicly against the police involved in the Sandra Bland case way too quickly and reflexively. Way before any of the facts were known. He’s a centrist who talks out both sides of his mouth.

        Socially Extinct

        August 16, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      • He has to support affirmative action in order to avoid discussing it. He is smart enough to know that getting drawn into a discussion of a a is going to be a losing proposition. So, he says he doesn’t oppose it in order to avoid discussing it. Reminds me of Obama allegedly not supporting gay marriage even though we all know he did.

        not too late

        August 17, 2015 at 11:09 am

    • Trump has revealed his immigration plan. Did Jeff Sessions and Ann Coulter ghost write it?

      Immigration moderation. Before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers. This will help reverse women’s plummeting workplace participation rate, grow wages, and allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.”

      He’s now better than Walker on the most important issue. I will vote for Trump.


      August 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm

  4. I was a juror on a murder case that lasted 11 days. The perp was black, the victim black, the prosecutor and cops white. Nine blacks and three whites on the jury panel. I got them to convict by wearing them out. They couldn’t face being sequestered one more night. I think most people in the jury pool are too stupid to be on the panel. Keeping blacks out is a good approach if you are trying to have a proper jury. Blacks are totally unfit for the common law system. They are not our peers and they cannot follow reasoning or consider the evidence. If I wasn’t there the perp would have walked.


    August 16, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    • If anyone believes this story, raise your hand.


      August 16, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      • Marty, you find it hard to beleive that a majority black jury would want to acquit because white cops roughed up a suspect and called him nigger and a black attorney tried turning everything into a race issue?


        August 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      • Well he has discussed his time at rikers, which I imagine would exclude him from jury duty, but maybe the jury duty happened first.

        slithy toves

        August 16, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      • It’s like you’ve never met black people. Even if the story wasn’t true, it’s still true.


        August 16, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      • It did happen before, but I had felony reduced to misdemeanor and have been called up since. It was like ‘The Twelve Angry Men’. What’s hard to beleive?


        August 16, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      • I believe it. I was on a jury and wasn’t too anxious to convict. It was a minor offense. I thought the defense was plausible. There was one guy who insisted on a conviction. He made sense, but I was not sure. Eventually he hung on for the win.

        not too late

        August 17, 2015 at 11:13 am

  5. And Lion, I disagree with reducing the number of challenges. It’s incredibly hard to select a normal intelligent jury in a place like NYC. The last thing you want is affirmative action for the jury.


    August 16, 2015 at 12:53 pm

  6. My guess is 90% of Lion’s readers are too young to remember the Simpson trial. That was the final word on the fitness of black jurors. The leftist media meme of the time, and one wholeheartedly endorsed by blacks, was that whites just couldn’t stand a successful black man, and that’s why OJ was prosecuted. You can see a similar mindlessness on display with this week’s New Yorker. Pimping an article on Darren Wilson the cover asks, “Does he undefstand what he unleashed?” So Wilson was the animating force, eh? Jeez.

    mutual seiko

    August 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    • Juries have the power to nullify a process or law that seems unfair or suspect, and it’s their historical common law right and function. Learn-ed legal analysts, scholars, etc. are in love with the “game” and hate this fact, so they frame it as ‘dumb proles’ vs. ‘the learn-ed.’ Well you can’t fool me!

      Juries are good at calling bullshit when necessary.

      And the people who are most often the recipients of unfair process or unfair laws are the ones most often excluded. No coincidence.


      August 16, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      • Swank, jury nullification almost never happens. I wanted to go for it, but wisely chose a plea bargain.


        August 16, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      • Of course it doesn’t: “and the people who are most often the recipients of unfair process or unfair laws are the ones most often excluded. No coincidence.”


        August 17, 2015 at 3:40 am

  7. When I had an internship at the prosecutor’s office in Phoenix, they told me that every defendant was guilty because the job of the prosecutor is to represent the interests of the public and not to put innocent people in prison

    This is literally both ROFL and the scariest thing I have read on the internet.


    August 16, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    • Prosecutors have a vested interest in only targeting real criminals. Though not as bad as public defenders in terms of underfunding, prosecutors are operating on limited budgets and don’t want to spend their weekends working on cases that never should have been brought in the first place (unless it is upper class lacrosse players). The County Commissioners who collect the taxes to pay their bills really don’t want them wasting time on dubious cases either.


      August 16, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    • it doesn’t even make sense…every D is guilty “because” the job of the prosecutor is to represent the public…hah?

      Mrs Stitch

      August 16, 2015 at 4:42 pm

  8. “With five or more [blacks on the jury], the [acquittal] rate rose to 19 percent.”

    Not 100%? Heh. Could be much worse!


    August 16, 2015 at 2:07 pm

  9. Yet I’ve read the opposite, that blacks are just as likely to convict a black defendant as a white juror. This article discusses death penalty cases, where perhaps there is a disparity if blacks- at least the ones able to get through jury selection- are less inclined to send people to the gallows.

    I would imagine juror empathy depends more on the race of the victim, than that of the defendant.

    Funny how the nytimes glosses over that 90% statistic.

    slithy toves

    August 16, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    • The study was of 12 cases in one county.

      It wasn’t nationwide nor did it have a large sample size.

      not too late

      August 17, 2015 at 11:16 am

      • Remember how blacks are far far more likely to be arrested in Berkeley, CA than in Tupelo, MS?

        not too late

        August 17, 2015 at 11:17 am

  10. OT, Lion, but you’ll probably enjoy this tweet by Ann Coulter today:

    I don't care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) August 16, 2015

    Dave Pinsen

    August 16, 2015 at 6:18 pm

  11. If you don’t know blacks won’t convict blacks for crimes you must never have met blacks. They are not shy about it. After the OJ Simpson trial showed how racist and idiotic blacks are, there were stories all over the place where black jurors were admitting they let blacks off from conviction because they were black. There was even a highly publicized case where a black jury freed a black rapist and the black jurors admitted he was guilty. These Stone Age Fossils do not belong here. They do not understand the concept of law. They can’t understand why blacks should go to prison for minor things like rape and murder, because that’s just an average day in the Stone Age where they live.

    Joshua Sinistar

    August 17, 2015 at 1:51 am

    • Josh, Blame everything on Whitey. Most of them don’t understand what you just said, which of course, is their fault, and black dysfunctional behavior is a result of personal responsibility, not whitey racism.


      August 17, 2015 at 10:23 am

  12. OK mates, while I’m waiting for the super to let me into the backyard let me explain a few things to you.

    1. The blacks convict and acquit in the same irrational manner. At my murder trial when we took the initial count there were 3 quilty against 8 innocent and one undecided. The guilty votes belonged to me and two blacks from the islands. We were the first ones to state our reasoning. So the both blacks go:
    – He was on the street at 2 o’clock in the morning and where we come from only police and criminals are on the street at this hour. He wasn’t a policeman, so he must be a criminal’.

    The amazing thing is that this suspect was picked up at his parents house, not on the street! It’s the other two that were picked up on the street. The more amazing thing is that none of the jurors object except for me! I go:

    – Come on guys, this is America people walk on the street at 2 o’clock in the morning’.

    Super is here, got to go.


    August 17, 2015 at 10:19 am

  13. 2. The white guys. There were two: a female social worker and a male city employee. The female was for not guilty, the male was undecided, he was hedging and not rushing to take a stand that might be unpopular. A typical city employee. I figured out I would win those over easily. Once it became apparent that we were not going to reach a verdict we went for dinner and were taken to the hotel. I got a room with the white guy. He was a pretty nice chap, he watched a game on TV, I read a book and we turned in at about 11. Now a funny thing happened. I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and jump back (yes literally jump back) into the wrong bed and land on top of this chap. The poor devil starts screaming:
    – Please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me!
    Geez, if guy jumps into your bed, you are supposed to fight not beg for mercy! What a faggot! Of course he changed his mind to guilty pretty fast. I mean, a guy watches a sports game in TV and is such a faggot! This is ridiculous.


    August 17, 2015 at 8:09 pm

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