Mon., June 7, 2010 12:00am (EDT)

Report: Juries Race-Based
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 4 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
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A study on jury selection in the South says, the Jim Crow practice of excluding blacks and other minorities from juries is still widespread.

The Montgomery-based non-profit human rights organization Equal Justice Initiative looked at hundreds of cases in the South.

It found lawyers using reasons like "low intelligence," "arrogance" or the way someone walked or wore their hair to strike African-Americans from jury service.

"Anyone who has practiced criminal defense law, certainly in the state of Georgia, has to be aware that there's almost a systemic practice of excluding blacks and other minorities from jury service," says Sage Brown, an attorney who fights civil rights cases in Savannah. "I don't think that you can find any enlightened human beings that will tell you that we have conquered the whole issue of racial discrimination."

In Georgia, the study found one judicial district that strikes 83% percent of its black jurors.

Georgia courts make it particularly hard to prove a juror strike was race-based.

State courts have upheld strikes against blacks based on where they live and perceived lack of education and work history