John Oliver on how black jurors get excluded

He shows that thanks to a mixture of incompetence and outright racism, people of color are much more likely to not make it into the pool of potential jurors and even if they do get there, are less likely to be actually allowed to serve as jurors. Prosecutors especially find ingenious ways to circumvent the prohibition that people cannot be excluded on the basis of race by finding other reasons, even though studies suggest that diverse juries are more thorough, thoughtful, and arrive at more just verdicts.


  1. ardipithecus says

    Prosecutors don’t want thorough, thoughtful, just verdicts. They want convictions because that is how their career is assessed. Defenders want acquittals. They don’t want thorough, thoughtful just verdicts either.

  2. Matt G says

    I served on a jury in NYC 20 years ago. The defendant was a white male post-doc with an M.D. in his thirties (I was in my Ph.D. program at the time). The witnesses were black and Hispanic, in their teens and early twenties, and security guards at the store where the guy allegedly shoplifted $300-worth of DVDs. He was clearly guilty -- the prosecution’s case was watertight, and the defense’s was a contradictory mess (it was the ADA’s third case, obviously given to her because it was a slam dunk). Of the 9 of us (6 jurors, 3 alternates), 4 I would describe as racist (among other ethical failings). You would not believe the logical knots they tied themselves into to get this guy off. I could write a book chapter about my experience….

  3. friedfish2718 says

    Danbury, Connecticut, drew a furious reaction from HBO’s left-wing late-night house John Oliver, naming their sewage plant “The John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant.”

    There is a sewer plant named after President GWB; John Oliver should be proud being in such good company.

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