On Monday, state officials [ in Kentucky] decided to suspend Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens for 90 days without pay following an investigation into judicial misconduct charges. According to Reuters, Stevens was accused of eight code of conduct violations after criticizing Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine on Facebook and during a speech at the Louisville Bar Association. Wine had previously questioned the judge’s motion to replace two all-white juries with more racially diverse ones.
Stevens dismissed a jury panel back in 2014 after a Black defendant complained that it “didn’t represent a cross-section of the community,” Louisville’s WDRB reports. A new jury was formed, this time featuring four African-American members; the defendant was later found not guilty. Stevens took similar action in 2015 due to the lack of minorities on a jury. According to the station, that’s when Wine filed a motion with the Kentucky Supreme Court questioning if Stevens had the power to dismiss a jury based on the lack of diversity.
If he's suspended temporarily, it was worth it. I hope he continues taking action. I wonder what we can do to support him against the state of Kentucky as far as making it mandatory to have a diverse jur.
Then again, if we give judges power to dismiss juries I wonder if a white judge would then decide a white man should have a full jury of his peers, all white men -- like they've been doing for decades except for when they get exceptionally unlucky.
This sword could cut both ways. But there must be a way for black people to insist on having a jury of our own peers, whether it be by race, gender, or class.
Read More: http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/08/10/judge-olu-stevens-gets-suspended-without-pay-calling-racism-judicial-system/