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Detroit Court Addresses Lack Of Blacks In Jury Pool

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DETROIT (WWJ) – The federal court in Detroit is concerned about the lack of African Americans in jury pools.

U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood says a just released report shows most blacks either don’t respond to mailed questionnaires or don’t show-up when summoned.

“The community has to respond, particularly African Americans, who aren’t represented as we think they should be in our jury pool, even though our jury pool has been found to be constitutionally correct in how we make it up,” said Hood.

She said they’re working to do something about that.

“So, if you are a person who does not respond — as opposed to your questionnaire being sent back to us — if you don’t respond you’re going to get a letter from us, that’s a little bit more forceful, about why you should come to jury duty,” said Hood. “We’re gonna follow up on that a lot better.”

Defense Attorney Anthony Chambers, who has complained about the blacks in the jury pool, said this will be a problem for Kwame Kilpatrick’s upcoming federal corruption trial.

“I think it’s going to be even more difficult to seat a jury in that case that appears to represent the community,” Chambers told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Stephanie Davis.

“It’s gonna be a bigger problem because, if you saw the jury selection in this case which asked limited questions related to former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, there was a general sense of negativeness,” he said.

Chambers represents Kilpatrick’s former business partner Bobbie Ferguson in the case.

Why do you think people don’t answer jury summons? Comment below.

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