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Minorities Underrepresented In Jury Selection

wright13.jpg
Photo: Daphne Wright

By Lou Raguse

Attorneys have questioned more than 100 potential jurors in the
Daphne Wright murder case, but none of them share the suspect’s race.

Wright’s attorneys asked for a mistrial, because the defendant is
black, and they say the process was unfair.

The judge denied the request for a mistrial, saying minorities
weren’t excluded from the selection process just because of their
race — even though two Native Americans were the only non-whites to
get questioned.

But the judge approved another request that now extends jury
selection into Tuesday.

Monday afternoon, attorneys approved the 59th potential juror. That
was the number they needed. Of those 59 people, each side would then
eliminate 22, leaving 12 jurors and three alternates to sit through
the trial.

But Judge Brad Zell approved the defense’s request for an extra
option. Wright’s lawyers will now get to strike down 23 and the
prosecution 22, so jury selection will resume Tuesday to find one
more potential juror.

Of those 60 people who could decide whether Wright lives or dies,
none of them have the same racial background as the defendant.
Wright’s lawyers criticized the jury selection process, pointing out
that pools did not come close to representing Minnehaha County’s 9.6%
minority population.

But during questioning about the death penalty, each potential juror
said they could give Wright a fair trial. And if there’s a guilty
verdict they’d be able to put aside their personal beliefs, listen to
the evidence, then decide whether death or life without parole is the
right sentence.

On Tuesday, the last pool of jurors will come in for questioning. And
as long as one of them is approved as a potential juror, the
selection process will end — three weeks after it started.

(( Source: KELOLAND TV ))