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Proud Boys Lose Lawyer, Fight For All White Jury, Manhood In Jan 6 Suit
Ain't it a damn shame.
Lawyers in the DC federal court managed to seat a jury in the seditious conspiracy trial of five Proud Boys, including leader Enrique Tarrio, although not without considerable drama. As Law & Crime reports, an attorney for defendant Ethan Nordean kicked up quite a fuss yesterday because the government tossed too many white dudes off the jury, and that is no fair, and reverse racism, and cheating.
Well, to be more precise, it's a Batson challenge, although not perhaps as the Supreme Court envisioned it in 1986 when it held that it violates the Constitution's Equal Protection clause for prosecutors to use their peremptory strikes to exclude jurors simply because of their race and lowered the threshold for proving that a strike was racially motivated. In plain English, in a criminal case, each side can strike unlimited numbers of jurors "for cause," and a limited number just because they feel like it, i.e. peremptorily. Before Batson , it was standard practice in some jurisdictions for prosecutors to strike all Black jurors when the defendant was Black.
It's an interesting thought experiment if today's high court would reach the same conclusion, or if they'd come up with some wheeze to make it impossible to prove racism in jury selection — perhaps the prosecutor would have to appear in court with a notarized statement on county letterhead asserting that he wasn't going to allow any racial jury mixing. And by "interesting" we mean "terrifying."
But for now, Batson is good law, so defense attorney Nicholas Smith used it to mount a challenged to the peremptory exclusion of several “White, male Republican[s],” as well as a Catholic priest, noting that six of eight excluded jurors were White, and five were men.
Can't a white man catch a break in this town? It's a crying shame!
“None of these jurors expressed any sympathy for rioters or Donald Trump,” Smith complained, adding, “There is no possible explanation that I can think of for cutting these jurors except for prohibited characteristics.”
Prosecutors countered that they had perfectly legitimate reasons for ditching the prospective panelists:
One, [US Attorney Jason] McCullough said, indicated he might be “sympathetic to the defendants’ views on Antifa.” Another juror, who came to jury selection “dressed in a full suit,” raised concerns that his “composure, his professional status could cause other jurors to add undue weight to his role in the deliberations” and that he could “take control of a jury panel.”
As to the priest, McCullough said that there was a concern that he would “bring his line of work into the jury room” and that “defense attorneys might seek to exploit his occupation by appealing to his sense of redemption or equity.”
That was good enough for Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee (but not in the mold of Judge Aileen Cannon), who noted that there were still white dudes on the jury. And if you don't want to face a jury that has Black people, don't come to the District and commit crimes, he did not add .
Elsewhere in the case, attorney Norm Pattis was disqualified from representing defendant Joe Biggs after getting suspended from the practice of law in Connecticut. If that name sounds familiar, it's because Pattis defended Alex Jones in the Connecticut Sandy Hook defamation suit. And now, after utterly failing to comply with a protective order regarding the plaintiffs' confidential medical records, he's finding out that there's something worse than losing a billion dollars on live TV.
Cue the violins and sad trombone, they can play an appropriate intro as the courtroom deputy brings in the jury.
[ Law & Crime ]
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