A Texas prosecutor claims his boss encouraged him to keep blacks off juries.
According to the Associated Press, Wharton County Assistant District Attorney Nathan Wood confessed to a friend that he felt pressured by District Attorney Ross Kurtz to exclude blacks from juries.
Wood’s friend shared the confidential information with a judge, which led to a March 11 hearing. During the hearing, Wood told the judge that Kurtz never directly instructed him to exclude blacks, but he did encourage it. Kurtz claims he’s always told prosecutors not to consider race when deciding whether to exclude potential jurors.
The hearing followed the conviction of a black woman. None of her jurors were black.
A recent report published at BreakingBrown found that prosecutors use every trick imaginable in an attempt to keep blacks from serving on 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.”
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.