Monday, June 16, 2014

Statement Analysis: Insult and Racism in Jury Discussion

The following is an article from the NY Post.  The quotes are put into italics, with Statement Analysis added in bold type.  It is very insulting, so those of you who are racially sensitive should skip the implications of the article.

What do some lawyers think of jury pools?

When Brooklyn juries gentrify, defendants lose

NYPOST
Brooklyn’s courthouses are being rocked by the “Williamsburg Effect.”
The influx of well-off and educated white people to trendy neighborhoods such as Williamsburg is rapidly “gentrifying’’ the borough’s jury pool — and transforming verdicts, lawyers and judges told The Post.
It’s good news for prosecutors in criminal cases — and bad news for plaintiffs in civil lawsuits, they said.
The jurors are becoming more like Manhattan — which is not good for defendants,’’ noted veteran defense lawyer Julie Clark.
Modal Trigger
High-profile lawyer Arthur Aidala said juries used to be 80 percent people of color, but now grand juries have more of what he calls “law-and-order types.”Photo: Robert Kalfus
“They are . . . much more trusting of police,” Clark said of the jurors. “I’m not sure people from the University of Vermont would believe that a police officer would [plant] a gun.’’
Former Brooklyn prosecutor and defense lawyer John Paul DeVerna said, “The ‘Williamsburg Effect’ affects every case that goes to trial.
A contrarian-minded person — and Billyburg has them in spades — can cause discord in the jury room. And if the hipster gets along with everyone, that can even be more dangerous because they are confident and educated, which means they have the potential to hijack the jury.
The seismic shift also is affecting grand juries, lawyers said.
The grand jury used to have an anti-police sentiment. When I was a prosecutor 22 years ago, a jury would be 80 percent people of color,” said high-profile lawyer Arthur Aidala. “Now, the grand juries have more law-and-order types in there.
Note the make up of the two juries:
1.  "80 percent people of color" 
2.  "law and order types" (without color being mentioned)  Remember, statement analysis looks at what one says, and what one does not say. 
This is then taken that the "law and order types" do not have anti-police sentiment.   
Note that the first is known for its color, but the second has the color avoided. 
People who can afford to live in Brooklyn now don’t have the experience of police officers throwing them against cars and searching them. A person who just moves here from Wisconsin or Wyoming, they can’t relate to [that]. It doesn’t sound credible to them.”
Note that the "people" are here "now", are related to being from "Wisconsin" or "Wyoming"
Meanwhile, civil juries have become more pro-defendant.
There’s an influx of money, and when everything gets gentrified, these jurors aren’t pro-plaintiff anymore,” said plaintiff lawyer Charen Kim.
Is being "gentrified" an insult to those prior?
We’re dealing with more sophisticated people, and they don’t believe [plaintiffs] should be awarded millions of dollars for nothing.

If you were to divide the statements into two parts based only on the language of the quotes:  
1.  People of Color
2.  The "new" people, color is not mentioned.  
What characteristics are given to "people of color" and what characteristics are given to the "new" people by those quoted?
Using just the language of those quoted:
I.  People of Color are:
unsophisticated
better for defendants in criminal cases  (pro crime) 
bring down property value and bring down rents
are law breakers and are disorderly 
don't trust police 
people of color believe that "millions of dollars" should be given to people for "nothing"
Not educated 
*********************************************************************

II.  Non People of Color are:
Not good for defendants in criminal cases  (not pro crime) 
Good for defendants in civil cases
Gentrified 
Sophisticated
Earners
Drive up property values and rent 
Educated
Are "law and order" keepers 
Do not want people to get millions of dollars for "nothing"
This is just based upon the language of the lawyers quoted.
What is lost in all of this?
Besides the racism, what is lost is the quest for truth.  Do we want jurors to get to the truth, or just be "pro defendant"?  What is missing is any call for justice and truth.    
The percentage of white people in Brooklyn grew from 41 percent to 50 percent between 2000 and 2012, according to US Census data.
Rents in the borough also spiked by 77 percent over the same period, according to a recent report by the city comptroller’s office.
Plaintiff lawyer Edmond Chakmakian said he was so sure that the civil jury weighing his client’s case would be tainted by the “Williamsburg Effect’’ that he settled just before a verdict for damages was announced.
His client, Brian Petrides, had sued the city after he fell from scaffolding while working at a Brooklyn school and suffered debilitating injuries.
Chakmakian settled for $6 million — and later found out that the conservative jury would only have awarded his client $2 million.
I absolutely felt like I had a much different jury on my hands than I would have had five years ago — they were MBAs and attorneys, everyone had an advanced degree,” Chakmakian said.
“There were very few minorities on the jury. It was a real white-bread jury. It’s a whole different ballgame.
Note the phrase "white bread jury"
Even judges have noticed the jury shift.
The juror pool is getting more cosmopolitan here in Brooklyn. There’s more of a blend across all socioeconomic strata,” said Brooklyn Supreme Court judge Vincent Del Giudice.
I see a lot more highly educated people. I see more college and post-graduate degrees.”

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It does seem racist (although I'm growing very tired of the overly PC epidemic). One thing though, I am pleased to see people not "skipping out" on jury duty. That's been a problem for a long time. A lot of people make up excuses to get out of it, then it seems like people who have nothing better to do are the ones left, and ultimately get selected.

I just read something recently about jury selection. I wish I could remember where I read it, it was kind of interesting. Someone wrote about how they didn't get chosen (for no apparent reason), but the guy in his pajama pants who was 1/2 asleep did (some other descriptions were given, but I don't remember them all).

Jen Ow said...

The guy in the pic wearing Capri pants and sandals with a sweater made me snort laugh.

Jen Ow said...

Business on top...beachy on the bottom, lol

Rose said...

You see how they are using their language to accuse the white juries of racism? Someone from the University of Vermont would not believe that a cop would plant a gun, eh? They are essentially saying that a white person who had a "privileged" life is too racist to believe that cops can be bad. Um, okay....

I am white and went to (horror!) University of Colorado. I also have a law degree. You know what I bet is really going on? The "educated", "sophisticated" juries actually require evidence before they will believe that defense. These attorneys are used to using the "cops are all corrupt" defense and having it work without presenting any evidence. They are annoyed now because these new "white-bread" juries are not buying it. They are going to have to actually do their jobs, and they are not happy about it.

Again, as a white "privileged" person (I actually grew up in a two-room house without an indoor toilet), I am totally open to any defense, but there must be evidence to back it up.

Anonymous said...

"If you were to divide the statements into two parts "

Why the distancing?