In Shreveport, Louisiana, prosecutors use every reason imaginable to exclude blacks from potential juries.
According to DallasNews, potential black jurors were dismissed for the following reasons: “Young or old, single or divorced, religious or not, failed to make eye contact, lived in a poor part of town, had served in the military, had a hyphenated last name, displayed bad posture, were sullen, disrespectful or talkative, had long hair, wore a beard.”
Prosecutors are allowed to dismiss jurors using “peremptory challenges”, which basically means lawyers can dismiss jurors for any reason at all.
Louisiana Prosecutors Use Everything From “Eye Contact” to “Bad Posture” to Keep Blacks Off Juries, Study FindsClick to tweet
Potential black jurors in Louisiana’s Caddo Parish are three times more likely to be kicked off juries than their non-white counterparts, a study found.
The group Reprieve Australia conducted the Caddo Parish study. They found that the likelihood of an acquittal rose with the number of blacks on the jury.
Ursula Noye, a researcher who helped with the report, said, “Next to voting……..participating in a jury is perhaps the most important civil right.”
“Caddo Parish is 48 percent black, and 83 percent of the defendants in the new study were black. But the typical 12-member criminal jury had fewer than four blacks on it,” DallasNews reports.
Most of these jurors weren’t dismissed with peremptory strikes, but because, “Blacks may be less likely to be on jury lists that are drawn from voter registration records, less likely to appear when called, more likely to qualify for hardship exemptions and more likely to be disqualified for felony convictions,” the paper reported.
Peremptory strikes, however, were an issue.
“Still, prosecutors here used peremptory strikes against 46 percent of the black potential jurors who remained, and against 15 percent of others. In 93 percent of trials, prosecutors struck a higher percentage of blacks than of others.”