Los Angeles, CA – In an effort to address police misconduct and racial bias in the criminal justice system, the Jury Reform Initiative is launching a nationwide movement with a National Conference in Los Angeles on July 28, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at 120 South, Double Tree Conference Room BCD, Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. It will be open to the public and attendance is free. Please RSVP by visiting the Jury Reform Initiative website.
The Jury Reform Initiative proposes that the only viable solution to police misconduct and racial bias in the criminal justice system, including wrongful convictions and selective prosecution, can only be addressed by a mass reform of the jury system.
The National Conference main presenter will be its director and founder Attorney Zulu Ali. Attorney Zulu Ali is a former Police Officer; U.S. Marine Corps veteran; Trial Attorney and Principal of the Law Office of Zulu Ali; radio talk show host of Justice Watch with Attorney Zulu Ali on NBC radio news affiliate station KCAA in Redlands, California; founder and director of the Stop and Frisk Academy, an organization that teaches at risk youth how to deal with police encounters; and he is the subject of the documentary Purpose and Freedom. In the call to action, Attorney Ali states the following:
“There is a crisis facing our criminal justice system. Police officers engaged in abuse are usually found not guilty; and, the accused, regardless of the state of the evidence, are being found guilty. Unjust verdicts are generally the result of jury pools and panels not reflecting a cross-section of the community.
“A jury that does not have an adequate representation of people who look like the accused in the case of black and brown defendants; and no representation of black and brown juries in the case of police officers accused of abuse in the communities they serve, is a national crisis and must be addressed if we are to ever see a change in the criminal justice crisis and epidemic that is destroying our communities.
“We are not suggesting that persons of different races cannot be fair and impartial jurors; however, we must understand that there are inherent biases that do not go away at the courtroom doors. We do not always share the same reality and a diverse jury pool and panel balances those differences and heavily impacts the fairness of the system.
“The problem includes both the lack of diversity with regards to jury pools and the jury selection process. Courts have attempted to address the issue of racially motivated jury exclusion by prosecutors during the jury selection process; however, prosecutors have been able to successfully overcome those challenges by advancing frivolous race neutral reasons for excluding black and brown jurors. Generally, intentionally or unintentionally, Court’s analyze matters with the same unchecked and, often unrealized, inherent biases that jurors have.
“For example, I have had personal experience in court where certain individuals and their respective attorneys were allowed to pursue an action without intervention from the Court; however, due to court intervention, I was prevented from pursing the same action for clients that were similarly situated. The reasoning provided by the court for the different treatment was based on factors that were the direct result of the divergent treatment be the courts. In other words, the inherent bias by those involved, created the bases for the mistreatment. The action taken by the court may have been based on an unintentional bias. Those types of unchecked and often unrealized inherent biases are shared by jurors and jurists alike. Therefore, it is crucial that we recognize those inherent biases and make sure that we focus on reforming the jury system so that we can realize a more balanced and just criminal justice system.”