Process that could select Jackson jury found unconstitutional

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[b]Process that could select Jackson jury found unconstitutional[/b] Last modified: January 04. 2004 3:53PM [i]By LINDA DEUTSCH AP Special Correspondent[/i] LOS ANGELES — When the law speaks of defendants being entitled to a jury of their peers, it’s obvious no one contemplated Michael Jackson’s place in the justice system… But should his lawyer decide to challenge Santa Barbara County’s jury-selection process as skewed against him, it would be possible to do so on one issue: whether it systematically excludes racial minorities. That issue already has been a subject of legal challenges in Santa Barbara County. One of those cases is currently pending before the California 2nd District Court of Appeals. A judge found that Hispanics were being excluded from juries because of the manner in which jurors were summoned for service. Hispanics account for 34.2 percent of Santa Barbara County’s population, according to 2000 Census figures. For Jackson, the problem is compounded by the lack of blacks in Santa Maria, where his case will be tried if it goes to trial. Census figures show blacks represent just 2.3 percent of the county’s population… [Steve] Cron said the law guarantees defendants a jury taken from a cross-section of the community in which they live. But that cross-section in Santa Maria would have few blacks. Los Angeles defense attorney Harland Braun said there is no question Jackson would have a better chance with a multiracial jury. “Blacks still tend to regard him as a hero,” he said. “Whites look at him as a weirdo.” Braun suggested the defense should try to move the case out of Santa Barbara County to a more urban, racially diverse area such as Los Angeles or San Francisco. But he said the legal argument for change of venue should not be racially based… :4pinned[url=]Read FULL Article >>[/url]

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