California Judge Slams Prosecutors For Allegedly Striking Potential Juror Due To His Sexual Orientation

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber slammed prosecutors in San Diego on Tuesday for allegedly striking a potential juror from a trial because he is gay. However, prosecutors insist that the juror was struck because he admitted to previously protesting in favor of gay rights in a case involving gay protesters. Weber called the San Diego City Attorney’s Office move to block the juror as “shocking,” but if the prosecutors are telling the truth, is it so unreasonable to bar such an individual from a jury based on past similar conduct?

Weber tossed out the entire jury in light of the strike.

Prosecutors said the potential juror indicated in a questionnaire that he had protested in support of gay rights issues in the past. Since the six defendants are charged in the case unlawfully blocked the operation of the county clerk’s office during such a protest, the prosecutors felt the juror would not be fair or unbiased.

I entirely agree with Weber that striking a juror based on sexual orientation would be outrageous. However, if the merits concern conduct that the jurors has engaged in, would the strike be so outrageous? There are a couple of details, I think, that would have to be answered. One is whether the juror engaged in unlawful or unpermitted protests. Another is whether the subject was the same, involving same-sex marriage.

An even more pressing question is why the City Attorney is expending money on this case, including a jury trial? Weber noted “I’ve never had so many jurors express concerns about why a prosecutor’s office would move forward and spend time and money on a case of this nature.” Good question.

Source: San Diego

19 thoughts on “California Judge Slams Prosecutors For Allegedly Striking Potential Juror Due To His Sexual Orientation”

  1. Well, guess what. Sometimes judges and prosecutors aren’t as intelligent as they would like people to think they are. How difficult is it to pass the bar exam?

  2. and another thing, if the defendant is accused of a crime then they can strike jurors for being criminals.

  3. ANON,
    Nice. So it takes two top comedians to raise a tired script about unusual back-scratching to become a money film? Show me one on WS and TARP and I’d laugh even more. Particularly at the jury selection scene.
    But I’ll second your assumedly over-graphic solution to corrupt injustice with both arms raised. Why both? The Feds are standing here looking at me.

  4. Y’all’s purty good. Guess we’ll have to move the KKK trials to Canada. Unbiased just ain’t found here. Haven’ ya noticed?
    After all the trouble we went through rinsing the register of you know who.

  5. Anon: If ya get in the mood to burn a courthouse or two could ya start with the big one in Dallas?

  6. Jeff, “You have a right to an impartial jury, not one of your peers.”

    That’s why those who don’t support the death penalty are excluded from capital cases?

  7. Of course you would want people who support gay rights. You would especially want people who protested. You would want them because you would assume there was a bias. The other side’s job is to reduce that bias. It would be the same if they had some homophobe on the jury. The defense would want him/her removed for a perceived biased.

    Also there is no right to a jury of one’s peers. You can imagine the problems such a right would cause. Some asshole burns down an African-American business and gets a jury composed of KKK members. That would obviously be a bad thing.

    You have a right to an impartial jury, not one of your peers.

  8. Wouldn’t you want gay people or people who support gay rights if you were a defendant who was gay? Wouldn’t that be closer to a jury of his/her peers anyway?

  9. People get stuck from juries for far far more frivolous reasons than this person did. Good or bad, that is the nature of our system. It is hardly a stretch to imagine that someone who protested (legally or otherwise) for gay rights would be biased in an issue involving people protesting for gay rights.

    Likewise if a potential juror had protested against gay rights it would have been reasonable to excuse him from the jury as well. Would the judge have complained in that case? Would the media pick up this non-story as news?

  10. The defendants were charged for allegedly blocking an office while exercising a protected right. Why does the reason for the protest enter into it (besides homophobia)?

    Why the question on the questionnaire in the first place? Did they also ask if any of them had taken part in an anti-gay protest? Did they also ask if any of them had taken part in a protest of any kind? Probably not. So, again, why the question as stated?

  11. what ever happened to a jury of ones ‘peers’….?

    maybe the jury selection process is become more like our scotus and the hand-picking for desired outcome has become the norm. The absolute anti-thesis of the banner our ‘legal’ system parades under…..

  12. It’s all a huge scam and fraud anyway.

    If the stories are true that prosecutors and defendant’s attorneys strike out engineers and scientists and computer programmers and doctors and anyone intelligent because they are intelligent or have learned, as a professional to ask questions and be appropriately skeptical,

    If jurors are struck because they understand what juror nullification is and why it exists

    then fuck all the courts, fuck the judges, and fuck any attorney that is complicit in this corruption.

    Those courts need burning down, not a discussion of how many jurors can be pinned in the head.

  13. Struck for cause or not for cause, that is the question. If it was a preemptory challenge then the next step is to see if there is a pattern. Perhaps we need to reconsider pre emptory challenges.

  14. It seems to me that the assumption that a person who has protested for gay rights has done something illegal and therefore cannot be an unbiased juror misses the mark. I could accept the decision if the person was charged and convicted of some wrong doing, but last I heard, and I know how fast these things are changing in this country, it was not illegal to peacefully protest most anything in this country.

  15. During jury selection the judge decides if the potential juror can be struck for cause. This is usually done out of ear-shout of the potential jurors. I don’t see a reason to dismiss the entire jury panel.

  16. Exercising one’s first amendment rights is now an appropriate reason for striking a juror? I hope not.
    As to why the prosecutor is wasting time prosecuting this case at all–politics. Why a jury trial– maybe the defendants requested it.
    On a similar question why are we the taxpayers being forced to pay for a prosecution of a baseball player who may or may not have used banned substances when the lords of Wall Street who plunge this country off the economic cliff go univestigated and are rewarded by free money and access to power?

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