• June 21, 2024

Black Judge’s Racist Rant May Kick Him Off the Bench

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In a recent court case, the judge threw out the entire jury because he thought it wasn’t black enough.  The prosecutor objected and instead of taking his grievances through normal channels, the judge decided to take his gripes to Facebook.  Judge Olu Stevens accused  Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine of wanting all white juries only.  Intimating that Wine is a racist.  The jury pool was selected at random and only one potential juror was black.  Neither side moved to strike him but they approved 16 jurors.  A random drawn and the black juror was eliminated.  The prosecutor had nothing to do with it.

Judge Stevens will face a disciplinary panel on Monday and his punishment could range anywhere from a reprimand to removal from the bench.  The judge had filed a federal suit but dropped it.  The Supreme Court ruled that having blacks on jury is not a guaranty unless unusual means are used to keep them off from the jury and any elimination must be color blind.

From The Blaze:

Stevens – appointed in 2009 by then-Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and retained by voters in 2010 and 2014 – has never skirted the spotlight. He’s a prodigious contributor to social media – one colleague dubbed him “Judge Selfie,” the Courier-Journal reported. In one 2015 post, months before his feud with Wine, Stevens criticized home-invasion victims who said the crime left their 3-year-old afraid of black men. Stevens called their opinions “stereotyped and racist” – echoing his comments in court. The disciplinary commission accused him of misconduct in that incident in its recent batch of charges against him.

Judges must be mindful when speaking out, but Stevens raised legitimate concerns about jury diversity, said Dallas attorney John G. Browning, who writes about judges using social media.

“Do we want judges to be cloistered in their ivory towers, closed off from the very public that they serve and the issues that are of concern to the community?” Browning said. “Or do we allow them to speak publicly on some issues that may very well have some bearing?”

He didn’t just speak, he took action twice.  Once to dismiss the jury and the second when he tried to browbeat the prosecutor.