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The N.C. Supreme Court must stop racism in jury selection

Updated: Nov 7


The North Carolina Supreme Court has been revisiting the issue of racial discrimination in jury selection. In February 2023, the court heard oral arguments over whether a Forsyth County prosecutor used a “cheat sheet” to remove Black people from a jury in a capital trial in 1996. The court is also hearing other cases involving allegations of racial discrimination during jury selection. Source

It is important to ensure that the jury selection process is fair and free from any form of discrimination. The court has a responsibility to ensure that the constitutional rights of all citizens are protected. The court’s decision on this matter will have far-reaching implications for the criminal justice system in North Carolina and beyond. Source

Attorneys have broad leeway to excuse people from jury pools, but they cannot send them home because of the color of their skin. The pamphlet, attorneys argued Wednesday, suggested reasons lawyers could cite as a pretext for removing jurors on the basis of their race.

The year before, prosecutors who attended a training offered by the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys received a pamphlet guiding them on how they could defend removing Black prospective jurors during jury selection.

Among the suggestions were claiming that Black jurors seemed to show a “resistance to authority,” held “anti-prosecution tendencies,” and did not maintain eye contact.

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