Ex-prosecutor says he kept Jews off juries

I am not the first person to blog about this, but since CNN finally joined the game I thought that it was worth putting this out there again.

“SAN JOSE, California (AP) — A former prosecutor’s claim that he conspired with a judge to keep Jewish jurors off a death penalty case will be the focus of a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

The California Supreme Court ordered the hearing in San Jose to investigate the sworn statement of John “Jack” Quatman, who said he and other lawyers in the Alameda County district attorney’s office routinely used peremptory challenges to keep Jews and black women off juries in capital cases.

Quatman’s testimony was filed on behalf of Fred Freeman, who was sentenced to death in 1987 for killing a bar patron during a robbery in Berkeley. As the prosecutor assigned to Freeman’s trial, Quatman said he colluded with the late Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stanley Golde to keep Jewish jurors from hearing the case.

“No Jew would vote to send a defendant to the gas chamber,” Quatman alleges the judge, who was himself of Jewish descent, told him.

“Judge Golde was only telling me what I already should have known to do,” Quatman stated. “It was standard practice to exclude Jewish jurors in death cases.”

Excluding jurors based on religion, race or ethnicity violates state and federal law and are grounds for a new trial.

If Quatman’s claims are proven to have merit, they could provide grounds for appeals of other death penalty cases in which he and Golde were involved.”

This bothers me on a number of levels. I am irked by the bias demonstrated here and wonder what other areas were impacted. A judge is supposed to be impartial and rule based upon the law and it is clear that he did not.

As a Jew I am also irritated because I am not afraid of the death penalty and if the case warranted it would be more than willing to vote for it. This is a conversation that I have had with other Jewish people and can attest to their willingness to do so as well.

No group is completely monolithic in their thinking and approach to life.

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