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 Post subject: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/09/10 06:41:35 AM 
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LOS ANGELES — The upcoming trial of a white ex-transit officer charged with killing an unarmed black man in Oakland has already sparked racial tensions in the city, one of the reasons the trial was moved to Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, a jury of seven whites, four Hispanics, one East Indian — and no blacks — was selected to hear the case against former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle, according to KTVU-TV.

Mehserle is accused of murdering Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009 in a shooting that was captured on video by several bystanders. He has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys have said he mistakenly pulled his gun rather than a Taser in an attempt to subdue Grant.

Prosecutors contend he intended to shoot Grant and he used his weapon because officers were losing control of the situation.

The trial could be the most racially polarizing of its kind in California since four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted of beating Rodney King in 1992.

Jack Bryson, who attended Tuesday’s proceedings and whose sons — Jackie and Nigel — were with Grant when he was killed, left the courtroom in disgust just after the jury was selected.

“This is like a slap in the face,” Bryson told The Associated Press. “This case came all the way to Los Angeles after the judge in Alameda County said they couldn’t get a fair and impartial jury there.

“This is the best you can do, and you did this in two days. We could’ve stayed back in Oakland for this.”

Cephus “Bobby” Johnson, Grant’s uncle, said Tuesday that he was “extremely surprised” that given L.A. County’s black population that not one African American was selected from the jury pool.

Selection began Monday with defense attorney Michael Rains asking some prospective jurists whether they’ve been subjected to racial profiling.

One young black woman said her husband was detained by police in Louisiana when he was a teen for simply being “on the wrong side of the tracks.”

“I think it comes with the territory of being black,” she said.

Asked by Rains if racial profiling still exists for her in Southern California, she replied: “Not as frequently.”

Juror 103, a middle-age, white property manager, recounted that he was with a group of black friends one time when they were stopped by police for “driving while black.” He said he didn’t know how often racial profiling occurred but it may have some effect on how he would view the case.

“I just trust that it’s not uncommon,” he said.

Deputy District Attorney David Stein polled every potential juror, asking if they could possibly convict a former police officer. He also asked those who have friends or family who work in law enforcement if they could withstand criticism if the jury found Mehserle guilty. Most said they could.

Bay Area defense attorney Michael Cardoza, who attended several pretrial proceedings, said he was surprised that a jury in such a heated case was selected so quickly.

“This could be a wake up call for communities (of color) who don’t heed to a jury summons. I think that’s the message that has to be sent. If you want representation you have to get out and serve,” Cardoza said.

http://newsone.com/nation/associatedpress3/no-black-jurors-selected-for-oscar-grant-murder-trial/


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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/09/10 11:47:39 AM 
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To be perfectly honest, I'm not familiar with most of the evidence in this case. But if it's as cut and dry as the activists seem to think it is, then why should it matter whether or not there are no black jurors?

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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/10/10 05:31:33 AM 
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Oscar grant was layed down on his stomach, and shot in the back by a train cop, who later made the excuse of grabbing his gun instead of his taser.

There's footage all over youtube on this.

It's BULLSHIT, it's called murder, pure and simple.

They better find this cop guilty, and send his ass away.


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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/10/10 11:33:03 AM 
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Right. So again, here's the question. If all that is true. If it's obvious that this police is guilty then why do you care and why should I care that there were no black jurors assigned to the trial? I don't understand the point of your article.

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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/10/10 04:36:59 PM 
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You are supposed to be tried by a jury of your peers.

By having the trial moved from oakland to L.A, your chances of having a jury of your peers has now dwindled, therefore, not allowing you to have a fair trial, and not being tried by your peers.


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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/10/10 10:07:22 PM 
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If you think you have a point, you're mistaken, bro. I mean, you're clearly not from California or at least you're not familiar with the respective demographics of each county. Alameda County is 14 percent black, compared to LA County, which is 11. A jury with no black jurors was just about as equally likely in both counties. After all, we're talking a difference of 3 percent. Furthermore, we're talking about a group that is generally underrepresented in terms of voting, which means they will necessarily be underrepresented on juries.

More fundamentally, I don't think that the idea that you should be tried by a jury of your peers implies that you must be tried by a cross-section of people that corresponds exactly to the jurisdiction in which the offense was committed. If you are aware of legal rulings that suggest otherwise, please share them.

And again, you still haven't answered my original question. If the evidence is so compelling, then what difference does it make what color the jurors are?

I don't think this is much of a story.

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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/11/10 02:08:30 PM 
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I believe what he is saying is that a jury of mostly white folk addressing the murder of a black man can muddy up the whole damn trial...as cut and dry as it may seem they could have a mis-trial or worse...an acquittal.

These days, things do not come easy, even if it does make sense. People have their own opinions about many things...including race, religon, firearms...chicken...whatever, and most people tend to allow these feelings factor into their "rational" thought of whatever it is they are contending with. That is partly what people are protesting...they just didn't articulate that point. They just saw a racial injustice. Yet, what the courts and prosecuters are focused on is the actual use of force. A trained officer is not supposed to even be reaching for a taser-gun if the "offender" is on the ground beneath your shoe face down <point>. There is no opposed threat.

The courts don't really acknowledge racial injustices anywhere just the crime in it-self. Though the concentrated disparities between the two subjects warrants attention. It's not a crime if someone doesn't like black, white, asian, or purple people...until that hate manifests itself into physical harm or character defamation. Something that the lawyers and the courts can call "tangible". That's why you have Nazi organizations existing in this contry, until they start breaking laws that are laid down for everyone to abide by. Once something happens, then the authorities are alerted and arrests are made. And even then, they focus on the crimes that are made...gun-running, prostitutions, murder...and such. They allow the media to play its part to stir public "interest" or "outrage" to influence the outcome of the trial.


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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/11/10 08:33:32 PM 
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b.p. wrote:
I believe what he is saying is that a jury of mostly white folk addressing the murder of a black man can muddy up the whole damn trial...as cut and dry as it may seem they could have a mis-trial or worse...an acquittal.


Do you really think that white people in LA County have such a low view of black men that they'll acquit a police officer of essentially executing an unarmed man? That's what you and DaPriest seem to be contending. And I think that's a ridiculous position to hold. But that's me. I understand the historical concerns as well as anyone but I just don't see urban, coastal white folks letting an obvious crime like that slide, if the evidence is as strong as you all seem to think it is. LA County is not some backwater county in Mississippi. Oscar Grant is not Emmett Till.

Furthermore, I don't think that any of this goes towards his point about moving the trial out of Alameda County. It was almost as likely that there would have been a jury selected with no black members in that county. (LA County is probably more similar to Alameda County in terms of racial composition than any other county in the state.) The sense I get in reading his last post is almost that this was the goal of the change of venue.

Maybe I'm biased. I mean, I live in a county that is only 2 percent black (Ventura County, just west of LA County). If a black man is killed here then his killer will very likely be tried in front of a jury not unlike the one selected for the Grant trial. (Several whites, several Latinos and no blacks.) Are you really saying that the murder of a black man cannot realistically be prosecuted in Ventura County without white folks "muddying" things up?

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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/13/10 04:07:04 PM 
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The points I was making is that there are no real penalties for hate. Yet there are for blatant crimes. The other was that something as obvious as this can STILL be mis-judged by the jury: Rodney King...and I am quite sure there are other uses of brute force by officers of authority.
I, myself, don't have much faith in anyone judging me based on the shit that I went through or that I have done. Not in any scenario. Even after hearing me out. The justice system is an antiquated doldrum of a machniation designed to keep the balance of social order. There are no laws passed based on morality at all...<"blind justice">...whatever.
It does not matter what YOU believe. Or me. It comes down to those that can put aside their prejudices to make a rational judgement based on the facts. To turn a blind brain-cell to the contrary is to say that there was no such thing as the Salem Witch hunts, Jim Crow, and false imprisonments.

That's what I was trying to say.


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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/13/10 08:32:51 PM 
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I agree with you that biases are definitely going to enter into one's judgment. There's no doubt about that. But this claim only shows that the problem you're pointing out is systemic. It's a problem that is essentially instractible as long as we are the ones that stand in judgment of each other when one of us is on trial. People will always have biases. No one is ever completely rational about anything. But still, what's the alternative? I mean, it's really easy to say that our system is antiquated and flawed or whatever, but what would you put in its place?

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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/17/10 06:31:48 PM 
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honestly...i just don't know.
but, they can stop moving trials on the basis that the defendant would not get a fair hearing. That is just bogus nonsense, to say the least. Coupled with the statistic of the racial make-up in both counties...the comparison leaves way to reasoning as to why even bother moving the trial if they were going to put in a jury selection that'll just fire up the public. Redundancy is the word that comes to mind. not to mention waste of taxpayers money.
All trials should be held in the juristiction where the crime has been committed. It just makes sense. Justice may be blind, but there is no sense in it being stupid. Common Sense...we should get back to plain common sense in judiciary procedures. no red tape. no pussy-footing strategies to get a leg-up or better the outcome of the trial for the sake of a quota. no plea deals. use the jail like it was invented for; rehabilitation and punishment. DO a better job at training police officers. Eliminate the blue wall. Fire all bigoted officers.
I could go on and on...


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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/18/10 03:53:16 AM 
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This is how prosecutors are allowed to continue to win their cases from the east coast out to the west coast.

Study Finds Blacks Blocked From Southern Juries

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/us/02jury.html


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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/18/10 04:19:42 AM 
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Big Doug wrote:
b.p. wrote:
Do you really think that white people in LA County have such a low view of black men that they'll acquit a police officer of essentially executing an unarmed man?


In this day and age, black men are still looked at as being expendable, prime example:

L.A. Gang Waged War To Eliminate Black People

http://newsone.com/nation/news-one-staff/california-gang-charged-with-campaigning-to-eliminate-black-people/


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 Post subject: Re: No Black Jurors Selected For Oscar Grant Murder Trial
PostPosted: 06/18/10 12:12:18 PM 
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DaPriest

DaPriest wrote:
This is how prosecutors are allowed to continue to win their cases from the east coast out to the west coast.

Study Finds Blacks Blocked From Southern Juries

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/us/02jury.html


This doesn't really go to your point about the change of venue. Prosecutors in Alameda County have the same authority to dismiss potential black jurors for no apparent reason and almost certainly would have used it. Though I agree that this is a problem, this story shows that it's not a problem specific to LA County by any stretch of the imagination.

DaPriest wrote:
Big Doug wrote:
b.p. wrote:
Do you really think that white people in LA County have such a low view of black men that they'll acquit a police officer of essentially executing an unarmed man?


In this day and age, black men are still looked at as being expendable, prime example:

L.A. Gang Waged War To Eliminate Black People

http://newsone.com/nation/news-one-staff/california-gang-charged-with-campaigning-to-eliminate-black-people/


Again, this is irrelevant to your point about the change of venue. Firstly, the views of gang members in Hawaiian Gardens don't really enter into questions about potential jurors in LA County. None of them are going to find themselves on a jury for a number of reasons. Furthermore, tensions exist between blacks and Hispanics exist all over California. These tensions are particularly strong between gang members. It's why, all over California, correctional facilities are allowed to segregate people by race.

And why did you respond to a question I asked with regard to white jurors with a story about Hispanic gang members?

And bp

I have to disagree with you about the idea that changes of venue are necessarily a bad thing. I really don't feel like defending this position at length. So I'll be brief. Ideally, a trial will be decided by a jury that heard little to nothing about the case in question prior to the trial. And therefore it will be hard to find locals who can decide a high profile case that haven't heard anything about it. To proceed without this precaution potentially allows for the case to effectively be tried in the media, as people will come into the court with their biases about the specific case at hand already in place. And if there's an institution that's worse than the courts, it's definitely the media. With this case, it's a lot harder to use this sort of reasoning to justify the change of venue though, as it was a national story. So there's that.


Peace

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