Updated: May 8
“The lawyers for each side question the potential jurors about their biases and backgrounds, as well as any pre-existing knowledge they might have about the case. The attorneys can also ask questions designed to uncover characteristics or experiences that might cause potential jurors to favor either the prosecution or the defense.” – Nolo.com
You may have heard concerns that the jury selection in Ahmaud Arbery’s trial does not reflect his community. 11 white jurors and 1 Black were chosen to oversee Arbery’s case in pursuit of justice for the at-the-time twenty-five year old Black man who was murdered in Brunswick, Georgia, while jogging. The selection of jurors being a topic common to racial evaluation in the media comes from historical evidence of unfair treatment served in the legal system, particularly against communities of color.
Was the selection of jurors racially motivated?
Over 600 jurors came forward in desire of serving this case, which would mean according to the jury selection process, that majority white men proved “competent” in sitting in the trial. How this is evaluated is by making sure there are no personal feelings connected to either side that may raise biases in decision making. For example, if I as Black woman pursued this trial in desire of being a juror and expressed feelings of anger that an innocent Black man was murdered for reasonings such as growing up and being traumatized through stories like these far too many times, I am liable to be taken as incompetent to oversee the trial–as my feelings are presumed to sway me in favor of persecution.
But what bias is there to have against Arbery that would result in lack of Black representation within the jury?
Many of us have seen the video clearly displaying Ahmaud Arbery jogging, being pursued, and then being killed. What bias is there to have in favor of the perpetrators who killed an innocent person? A person like you and me, who shouldn’t have to look over their shoulder and wonder if they’re going to die because of the color of their skin; because they’re potentially hated for existing.
How can we ask Black leaders to present themselves effectively in a legal system that asks them to turn their feelings off and have no bias to that their communities trauma. And maybe even their own spiritual trauma. Do we not need that passion at the forefront of our courts? Maybe then, we’d see more happy endings for Black families in the hands of the system…
Here’s a video of Arbery’s aunt’s feelings on the selection of jurors.