Attorneys in APS cheating scandal challenge racial make-up of - CBS46 News

Attorneys in APS cheating scandal challenge racial make-up of jury

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Each day prosecutors and defense attorneys get closer and closer to seating a jury in the trial for 12 former Atlanta Public School educators accused of cheating on the 2009 CRCT.

A jury pool of 600 people were called to fill out questionnaires, but defense attorneys have a problem with the racial make-up of that pool.

"I want to be clear, we're not saying we believe white people are going to convict African Americans," said Defense Attorney Benjamin Davis. "For our clients to have their Sixth Amendment rights, to be tried by a jurors of their peers, the percentage of African Americans should mirror the percentage of African Americans to the community at large."

Davis said the 600 people selected to serve is not a reflection of Fulton County.

"According to the census, there's 48 percent African American and there are about 35 percent African Americans in the pool," he said.

After excusing several people from the jury on Monday, Judge Jerry Baxter heard argument as to why defense attorneys have a problem with the current jury pool.

Since the jury pool selection is computerized, Baxter told attorneys he believes the only way there could be an issue is if a clerk in the jury office tampered with the pool.

"Our position is we don't have to prove a Fulton County clerk did something wrong. We believe the problem stems from this company that Fulton County hires to help summons jurors to the courthouse," said Davis.

That company is called Courthouse Technologies. It's located in Canada.

"We don't know a lot about how they send out the summons or how they select the people to send the summons to," Davis said.

Judge Baxter scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, Sept. 3.

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