After the trial, two jurors reported to defense lawyers that another juror had said the defendant was guilty “because he is Mexican and Mexican men take whatever they want.”
Did that and other alleged slurs unfairly weigh on the jury’s decision to convict
Peña-Rodriguez? Or should the juror’s words be protected by state and federal rules that guarantee the secrecy of jury proceedings? That was the question before the Supreme Court Tuesday.
The Court should not hesitate in its conclusion. We are living in an era when a major party presidential candidate declares before the world that Mexican immigrants are “rapists” and “killers;” in an era in which police shoot too frequently at unarmed black men because they are wrongfully stereotyped as aggressive and violent. The
Peña-Rodriguez case provides the perfect opportunity for the Court to renounce the systemic racism that has shadowed the American story since its beginning and instead reaffirm our abiding constitutional principle of equality for all.
As Justice Elena Kagan observed during oral arguments, using particular stereotypes about race and criminality is not just in conflict with constitutional principles of individual equality, but it would also be “the worst thing that you can suggest about our criminal justice system, that it allows that to happen.”
The Court should rule in favor of
Peña-Rodriguez to make clear that racial prejudice has no place in our judicial system."
Racial Stereotyping is the "Worst Thing" for Our Criminal Justice System | Huffington Post