Study: Black Americans Kept off Juries

A study set for release on Monday shows that prosecutors in Shreveport, Louisiana, used a series of peremptory challenges three times as often for potential black jurors than any others over the past decade. Prosecutors have come up with a number of potentially racially biased reasons to keep African-Americans from serving on a jury including that the individuals were old, single or lived in a poor part of town. Peremptory challenges are generally accepted without offering an explanation unless there might be implicit racial bias. The findings in Shreveport are consistent with patterns in Alabama, North Carolina and Georgia. In the latter, there was a case where prosecutors precluded every potential black juror from involvement in a death penalty case against a black defendant. The Supreme Court is reviewing that specific instance this fall.