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Racism in the Jury Box

Here's another in the never ending list of stories we as civil rights attorneys have to tell, in order to bang through the heads of Americans to get them to understand that racism is still ALIVE AND WELL in the USA. Of course, it's alive and well all over, but aren't there places we all expect it NOT to be? Places where, as objectionable as racism is on general principles, it's especially not ok for it to exist?

How about in the JURY ROOM in a lawsuit, where a jury is called upon to deliver JUSTICE, in a FAIR and EVEN HANDED WAY?

Take a look at this story from Seattle, perceived as a "liberal" leaning city:

"Alleged racial comments made by jurors during deliberations in a medical negligence case have prompted a Spokane, Wash. plaintiff attorney to seek a new trial. Attorney Mark D. Kamitomo asked for a new trial after learning from two jurors that a number of their fellow jurors allegedly referred to Kamitomo as "Mr. Kamikaze," "Mr. Miyashi" and "Mr. Miyagi," behind closed doors. A judge is scheduled to hear Kamitomo's motion for a new trial on Jan. 25. AP, Seattle Times 01/15/2008"

Ok, so what does this tell us? What lessons are there to learn?

Lesson 1: If people are comfortable crapping on their oaths as jurors this blatantly, then imagine what prejudices, biases and secret grudges they carry into their duties in other cases.

Lesson 2: The corporate/insurance/conservative/pro-business smear campaign against lawyers, judges, the courts and the law is WORKING, if people consider judge shows and this kind of conduct appropriate treatment of one of the institutions which is a foundational rock of our freedom.

Lesson 3: Juries are NOT "running away with pro-plaintiff verdicts." Apparently, most juries are still sticking it to people for all the wrong reasons.

Lesson 4: RACISM IS EVERYWHERE. If you deny it, you're not paying attention. If it can happen in "liberal" Seattle, where might it also happen? Here. That's where. Anywhere.

So what are you prepared to do about it? Any opinions or jokes you'd like to have back? Does this embarrass you at all if you care about our country?

Me? I plan to keep fighting.

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