Idolator has done its own hand wringing over enjoying R. Kelly in the recent past, but thankfully there’s one place where R. Kelly fans can huddle on the web to commiserate over the legal injustices facing Kells in Chicago. Robert Kelly, the Blender Blog has your back: this whole jury selection process is a set up!
R. Kelly suffered a defeat in his child pornography trial, as his defense team failed to balance the jury between whites and blacks, and to bar a woman who described herself as a rape victim.
During final negotiations over jurors, prosecutors asked the judge to exclude a black man who had sued Cook County for performing illegal medical tests on him while he was a prisoner in the jail. They claimed his experiences with the justice system would bias him against the prosecution. Sam Adam Sr., a lawyer representing Kelly, stood up to object.
“I think they’re using these to get rid of African-Americans,” Adam charged.
“I don’t think they’re doing that,” Judge Vincent Gaughan responded. “You keep saying that. You haven’t mentioned all the white males you dismissed.”
Nonetheless, Gaughan refused to dismiss the man, forcing the prosecution to use one of its peremptory strikes, which allow lawyers to veto a juror for any reason. Each side was allowed seven strikes….
The exchanges raised deep questions about the justice system’s fairness to African-Americans. The men were barred from the jury not because they were black, but because they were veterans of the penal system — which incarcerates blacks at a far higher rate than whites. That can become a self-perpetuating situation, since eliminating black ex-cons from jury pools would seem to produce juries more likely to convict black men.
Kelly’s jury will consist of eight blacks and four whites. Eight of the jurors are men; four are women.
People of the State of Illinois 1, Robert Kelly 0.
It’s hard not to have some suspicions about the process here, but maybe it’s a little early to start saying the fix is in, no? After all, we’ve all seen the endless list of accusations, and one has to imagine that the tales likely to come from the courtroom will test any sane person’s gag reflex. It’s possible/probable/likely that this trial might end up being less than fair, but let’s give it a little time to see for whom that’s the case.
Just so you don’t leave this post with an icky feeling, here’s some music from Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.