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Colorado Court Backs Dismissal of Juror For Calling American Justice Racist

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Colorado’s Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of a Hispanic man from an Arapahoe County jury because of his observation that the judicial system is unfair to racial minorities, reports The Gazette. A three-judge panel ultimately found the dismissal of “Juror G” did not violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s prohibition on intentional race-based exclusions of jurors because the prosecutors’ concerns revolved around Juror G’s statement about the justice system — which was not openly linked to Juror G’s race.

According to the provisions of the Supreme Court’s 1986 decision in Batson v. Kentucky, Juror G’s belief that the justice system is racist, coupled with the admission that his brother was convicted and “harassed” by police, amounted to nonracial reasons for the strike. The Colorado Supreme Court’s criminal rules committee is preparing to send a proposal to the justices that seeks to reduce the exclusion of people of color from juries. Peremptory challenges would generally be turned aside if, for instance, a juror lives in a “high-crime neighborhood,” is a non-native English speaker, or has friends or family members who have been arrested.

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