I’m angry, but not surprised, to read of the collapse of a murder trial in Florida due to racial issues.
The foreperson of the jury in the murder trial of Dayonte Resiles said three jurors were unwilling to convict Resiles based on his race.
The foreperson discussed on Friday the most recent twist in the trial that ended Wednesday with the hung jury.
“[The three jurors] said, ‘I don’t want to send a young Black male to jail for the rest of their life or have him get the death sentence,’” said the foreperson.
Resiles faces life in prison and possibly the death penalty for the murder of Jill Su, a 59-year-old Davie woman who was killed in her home back in September of 2014.
. . .
After six days of deliberations, the jury came back with manslaughter, but when it came time for the foreperson to confirm the verdict to the judge, she couldn’t do it.
“The whole time I’m staring at the judge and at the clerk, and we’re locking eyes, and I’m looking at each one of them,” said the juror. “They’re just waiting for my verdict of either ‘yes, I agree’ or ‘no,’ and I just couldn’t, and that’s why I said no.”
She said most of the jury was ready to convict Resiles of at least second-degree murder, but the three refused because the defendant is Black.
After they compromised on manslaughter, she said, her courtroom change of heart led to threats from other jurors.
“You guys keep saying ‘a young Black man,’ but I don’t see race. I just see a human being, and you know, one particular person said to me, ‘Hey, if you were outside this courtroom, you would have gotten smacked out in the street for this,’” said the juror.
There’s more at the link.
So now, in at least some parts of the country, we have to worry about the justice system being deliberately undermined by jurors who’ll reach their verdict on the basis of the race of the suspect(s), rather than the facts of the case. That’s not a justice system at all. That’s a racist system.
That’s something to bear in mind if you’re the defendant in such a case. Depending on the color of your skin, you might find some jurors voting to convict you because of that factor, while others might vote to acquit you on the same basis. You may be justified in your actions under the law, but the law is no longer an unbiased arbiter. It’s subject to the whims of those who must apply it.
The old proverb says, “Better to be judged by twelve (i.e. a jury) than carried by six (i.e. pallbearers)“. Today, that may no longer be good advice.