New jury will be picked after juror questions judge about lack of diversity
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Two black men accused of aggravated assault will get a new jury after one of the jurors chosen to hear the case questioned the judge about the lack of jury diversity.
The juror spoke up after he and fellow jurors chosen to hear the case against Terance Bradley and Hurley Brown discussed the issue during lunch, the Tennessean reports. The juror told Judge Cheryl Blackburn he didn’t think it was right for two black men to be tried by a jury with no black members.
The jurors had left for lunch after defense lawyers raised an objection to the prosecutors’ use of peremptory challenges,
The jury included minorities but no African-Americans, according to the newspaper. Prosecutors used peremptory challenges to excuse one white person and five black people from the jury, the defendants’ relatives told the Tennessean.
Prosecutors had listed their reasons for striking the potential jurors as “language barrier,” “son arrested,” “answer to truth question,” “family not treated fairly,” “lied about record” and “disengaged.” Defense lawyers had also sought to remove the black juror with a language barrier. And Blackmun had removed one potential juror who was black for failing to cooperate, according to one of the defense lawyers.
Assistant District Attorney General Megan King told the Tennessean in a statement that her office has a policy not to use race in jury selection, and the reasons for its peremptories were listed before defense lawyers alleged prosecutors were excusing jurors based on race.
King said Blackburn excused the jury because she felt their discussions about the jury’s racial composition violated her instructions not to discuss the case. The trial has been rescheduled for May 23.