Words from a Public Defender (in this case a PD Intern) posted in a blog on Myspace.Com started a shit storm. Since I don't have permission to reprint the entire story on Law.Com and I don't have $1500.00 floating around freely in my bank accounts to reprint the story, I'll post just a snippet of the story and link here:
A MySpace blog entry written by a former intern in the San Francisco public defender's office has prompted the superior court and Public Defender Jeff Adachi to look into whether a lawyer in Adachi's office was once told to keep Asians off a jury.
"I got to listen in on a conference regarding jury selection," she wrote. "My bosses gave the following advice to the lawyer … don't pick any Asian jurors, because (and I quote): 'Asians don't drink, they love Jesus, and they're creeped out by everything.'"
It's stories like this that scare the shit out of me and one of the reasons I stopped writing as much about the cases and trials that I work on (really...it wasn't just laziness).
My own flexible blawging rules generally require that I wait for a few weeks and sometimes even months to pass before blawging vague details about cases and investigations that have already closed in the hopes that whatever I write can still be somewhat interesting.
I understand that there are a lot of issues with the linked story (Racism, potential breach of attorney-client confidentiality, blawging about work in a legal office/work...just to name a few) above and after I've had a few hours of sleep to think about it, I might be willing to address them.
I WILL say that I don't care what factors an attorney uses in picking a juror...Now, I'm saying that as a PD Investigator who has sometimes been called in to consult with attorney's in selecting jurors during Voir Dire. Not that I'm such an incredible judge of character...some attorney's just like a little hand holding.
Why don't I care about the factors considered in picking a juror? I don't think I've ever met a Public Defender whose only goal wasn't to seat the best 12 jurors they believe would give our clients their best shot at getting a fair trial.
I understand, and have experienced racial discrimination in my life. I understand that it has no place in our society, let alone our courtrooms....but...I can't help but wonder if it should matter why some jurors don't get seated, if it means that by including them, there is a small chance you might be getting someone with a built-in potential bias against your client?