And the most impartial.
Remember Oscar Grant? He was the African American man shot to death by white BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle’s attorneys are moving for a change of venue.
Mehserle’s lawyers said a poll of 397 randomly selected county residents, conducted by a defense consultant from July 6 to Aug. 1, found that 97 percent had heard of the case.
Forty-six percent of respondents said Mehserle was definitely or probably guilty, the survey said. Twenty-seven percent said he was definitely or probably not guilty, and the remaining 27 percent didn’t know or wouldn’t say.
But more than 78 percent of the African Americans questioned – and fewer than 39 percent of the whites – said he was definitely or probably guilty, the survey said. The figures for those inclined to find Mehserle not guilty contrasted even more starkly – just over 5 percent of black respondents, and 33 percent of the whites.
O’Connor said prosecutors were “alarmed” by suggestions by defense attorney Michael Rains that potential jurors who are black should be screened in private to determine whether they have prejudged the case.
“The people dispute the defense notion that a high proportion of African Americans in this county are incapable of being fair,” O’Connor wrote.
“To single out African American jurors for this treatment is unwarranted, unprecedented and inappropriate,” O’Connor said.