The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center (MJC) filed a federal class action lawsuit today challenging District Attorney Doug Evans’ extreme racial discrimination against Black jurors in Mississippi’s 5th Circuit Court District. For the past quarter century, Evans’ office, which spans 7 counties, has employed a practice of striking Black jurors with peremptory challenges at an extraordinary rate.
In every trial, attorneys receive a certain number of “peremptory strikes” that permit them to remove potential jurors without giving a reason. Since taking office in 1992, Evans and his employees have used peremptory strikes against Black jurors 4.4 times more frequently than white jurors. Even the Mississippi Supreme Court has taken notice, observing that the evidence of jury discrimination in one of Evans’ cases was “as strong as they had ever seen.”
Learn more about the case here.
It’s too easy for prosecutors to get away with racial discrimination in jury selection under current procedures. We need a more comprehensive way to attack the problem. This lawsuit, filed on behalf of members of the community being excluded from jury service, does just that.