Shocking, Yes, But True?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Shocking, Yes, But True?

The Recorder, San Francisco's legal newspaper, calls it "one of the most shocking legal stories in the San Francisco Bay Area." If the allegations in the story are true, it certainly would be extremely shocking. The fact that the allegations are even being made at all might not be quite shocking, but it's definitely extraordinary. As the Recorder summarizes it:
a former prosecutor alleges he and a now-deceased judge conspired to keep Jews off the jury in a capital punishment case.
Quatman [the ex-prosecutor], now a Montana criminal defender, set off a firestorm with his declaration in a habeas petition for Fred Freeman, a convicted murderer whom Quatman prosecuted in 1987. In his declaration, Quatman stated that former Judge Stanley Golde told him he "could not have a Jew" on Freeman's jury because Jews would never vote for death. Quatman also declared that it was "standard practice" for the Alameda County DA to exclude Jews and black women from juries in capital cases because they would not support a death sentence. Based on the declaration, the California Supreme Court issued an order to show cause [i.e., it ordered a trial court to hold a hearing to determine whether the allegations were true].
The latest chapter is that the California Attorney General has gotten access to some interesting-sounding documents from Quatman's personnel file, claiming that the documents will show that Quatman is, not to mince words, a liar.

This should be interesting. I'll try to keep track of further developments.

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