This morning I sat through the beginning of jury selection for the murder trial of Jacovan D. Bush, 19, of Fairfax. This young man is black, and from a family known around the area to get in trouble frequently with the law. But when I looked around the room at the 34+ potential jurors sitting in the courtroom, I saw a sea of white faces. Maybe there was an Asian guy in there, too. Heck, even Gazette editorial board staffer Beth DeBoom was sitting up there!
Granted, this is Iowa, and that’s probably what you’ll come up with when you select jurors at random. I’m sure people like the elderly retired lady and the Mercy Medical Center nurse are intelligent enough to consider the evidence and decide whether he shot Thomas Horvath twice on April 15 at the Raintree Apartments and later buried the gun. But it just looks awfully strange when the defendant stands out because of the color of his skin.
The selection process was supposed to last all day, not surprising because of the seriousness of the case. It’s always interesting to hear what kinds of questions the prosecution and defense lawyers ask potential jurors. Have you ever been a victim of crime? Have you ever served on a jury before? If so, when and what was the outcome? Do you have any other prejudices that you believe would disqualify you from serving on this jury? Well, it’s just good to know they’re trying to make it as fair as possible.