“It requires little knowledge of human nature to anticipate that those who had long been regarded as an inferior and subject race would, when suddenly raised to the rank of citizenship, be looked upon with jealousy and positive dislike, and that state laws might be enacted or enforced to perpetuate the distinctions that had before existed.”
As ominously foreshadowed by the Supreme Court in 1879, current state and federal laws and practices continuously present disadvantages to people of color. Distant from enslavement and the oppressive nature of the Jim Crow Era, individuals, courts, and politicians, blind to the discrepancies of this nation’s criminal justice system, erroneously believe that the black defendant enjoys the same rights as the white defendant. Ignoring the lack of racial representation and the presence of implicit bias in the courtroom, white judges sit in front of white prosecutors and instruct the white jury on how to handle the black defendant’s case. The black defendant is seldom given a jury that racially represents him or her, and this lack of representation is a product of case precedent, judicial reasoning, and discriminatory practices. In Wisconsin, these discriminatory practices take form in both state and federal jury pooling procedures. As such, the purpose of this article is to draw on the disproportional impact jury pooling practices have on black defendants in circuit and federal district courts in the state of Wisconsin.