Judge dismisses all White jury



The Kentucky Supreme Court is looking into a Louisville judge to determine whether or not he overstepped his boundaries by dismissing juries that had no black people in them.

“The concern is that the panel is not representative of the community,” said Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens, who brought in a new jury after halting a drug trial when he was unhappy with the minority representation in the jury. This was done despite objections from both the defense and the prosecution.

Stevens had done something similar in November when a 13-person jury for a theft trial had no black jurors, calling the jury selection “troublesome.”

“There is not a single African-American on this jury and (the defendant) is an African-American man,” Stevens said, according to a video of the trial. “I cannot in good conscious go forward with this jury.”

The Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and Attorney General have since asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to look into Stevens’ actions to determine whether or not he has the authority to dismiss juries in such a way. Last month, the court agreed to hear arguments.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dorislee Gilbert argued that other judges “may feel societal, political, and other pressures” to dismiss juries with different racial makeups if the judge’s decision is allowed to stand.

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