The Ashley Drain jury prism


Jennet Stebbins.

Activist Ralph Lee White called to object that the lone black woman on the Ashley Drain voter fraud trial, a juror who was the lone holdout on a jury voting 11-1 to convict, was removed form the jury and replaced.

“Do you know what that do to the Black community?” asked activist Ralph Lee White. “They took a Black off the jury–and she was only one Black on the jury—what kind of justice is that?”

Fair question. I imagine for White the removal of juror Jennet Stebbins is prima facie proof of racist manipulation of the system. As the story becomes better known (this paper is working on it) I further imagine many whites will wonder, for their part, whether Stebbins was pulling an O.J. juror nullification.

Neither may be the case. Stebbins, a Delta College trustee,  is notorious for voting to abstain when votes come before the board. Possibly she again had difficulty making up her mind.

Or maybe she was voting her conscience, “Twelve Angry Men” style. Only when the facts are laid out by reporting is a responsible interpretation possible.

What I can say is that cases such as this are prisms. Different culture groups look into the prism and see different things. You can learn a lot about other peoples’ perspectives at times like this. You can also learn who goes off half cocked.

As of this writing, jurors were still deliberating.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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