Tuesday, June 27, 2006

An all-white jury is unfair to a Black defendant

A member of the jury stated that Rev. Pinkney was down seven votes before any evidence was presented in his trial. The Whirlpool game and County Clerk Stine's first cousin were in control. The jury was tainted from the start of the trial. Berrien County prosecutors and law enforcement officers attempted to influence the jury outside the court, offering bribes, coercing, making threats or asking acquaintances to intercede with the jury.

There is an unwritten policy in Berrien County. When it comes to Benton Harbor residents, county District Attorney James Cherry has an unwritten policy in violation of the federal law, excluding Blacks and Jews from juries in any criminal cases.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that jury pools must represent a fair cross-section of the county. This is a well-kept secret in the United States--the extreme corruption of the United States judiciary system.

The system that picks people for jury duty in Berrien County consistently overlooks Blacks and minorities and favors whites. The jurors are supposed to be selected at random--not so in Berrien County. People living in white neighborhoods are twenty-five times as likely to be called for jury service than residents of Black neighborhoods. While one in five adults in the county are Black, fewer than one in every seventy people in the jury room is Black. This imbalance leads many people in Benton Harbor to cast a reasonable doubt on the promise and purpose of the courts to provide a fair trial by a jury of one's peers. While Blacks don't get the same chance to judge, there is no shortage of them being judged. Over a 12-month period, Black defendants in jury trials outnumber whites 30-2. Presiding over all those trials are white criminal judges. If you see no one on the jury that represents you socially, economically, or racially and the jury is about to judge the appropriateness of your action, you can see why somebody might be very, very wary of the jury. An all-white jury is unfair to a Black defendant.

Benton Harbor, Michigan, has more Black Americans in prison per capita than any other city and now the state wants the death penalty. We must stand up and fight. There is a war going on, the haves against the have-nots, rich against poor, class against class. If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.

Rev. Edward Pinkney
BANCO, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
(legal fees being accepted and very much needed for my Sept. 19 trial)