Millions of Americans concluded, from the O.J. Simpson trial, that black jurors will not convict a black person who commits a crime against a white person. However, this position is incorrect. There is a more persuasive explanation than racial prejudice. Inner-city black jurors are more suspicious of prosecutors and police and will give the defendants the benefit of the doubt until proven guilty. White jurors, worried about crime, tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the prosecutors and police. It comes down to a matter of trust. Inner-city blacks understand, from their own experience, that the defendant doesn’t always get a fair shake from police and prosecutors, who are under career pressures to produce high rates of arrests and convictions. When a candidate for District Attorney or Attorney General is campaigning for the office they always talk about their convictions not making sure justice is served. During a discussion, the following question was asked: “how could black people celebrate O.J.’s killing two people?” I responded by saying I don’t believe black people were celebrating the deaths; they were celebrating the fact that an unjust system was exposed. Every police officer that testified in the O.J. Simpson trial was caught telling a lie and that didn’t seem to matter to the angry and disappointed white people. However, as a result of our experience with the police, their lies mattered to us.
This experience element is something whites are never exposed too. One afternoon I was parked outside a friend’s house, waiting for them, when a police car came down the street made a u-turn, and parked behind me. The officer walked up to my car and told me he got a call about a suspicious-looking person parked on the street. A white guy was sitting in a car across the street from me and yet the officer never approached him.
Inner-city blacks are not only street-smart they are also justice-system smart. In contrast, white jurors are naive about the criminal justice system and assume that police and prosecutors are purer than they are. What this means is that black jurors are doing a better job than white jurors. The purpose of juries is to prevent innocent defendants from being framed, not to fight crime by putting defendants away. Black juries are less likely to convict based on police testimony and prosecutorial argument alone. They require independent witnesses and a thoroughly investigated case. The fact that inner-city blacks juries are more likely to acquit explains why charges against blacks are more likely to be dismissed unless there is a plea deal or confession. Prosecutors have learned that they have to present black juries with better evidence, than white juries and therefore, dismiss cases they would present to white juries.
White jurors need to wise up. The time has long passed when the responsibility of the prosecutors and police was to serve justice. Today it is to serve career and more often than not, the two conflicts. That’s why I titled my book “The System Versus the Law” because the system and the law are at odds, with each other.
*This was inspired by an article written by Paul Craig Roberts for the Scripps Howard News Service. It is titled “Black Juries vs White Juries”.