TV, Now Tainting Jury Pools and Jurisprudence

Just in case your suspicion that racism persists in courtrooms and television news was waning, a TV exec in Fresno makes it explicit. 

Sitting as a potential juror in Fresno County Superior Court early last week, Hall said he couldn’t be a fair juror in a Hispanic man’s carjacking trial because research by the station’s newsroom showed a propensity for Hispanic males to commit violent crimes. He also said the District Attorney’s Office wouldn’t spend money on these cases unless the defendant were guilty.

The comments prompted a judge to dismiss not only Hall, but all who heard him — a jury pool of nearly 50 people. Lawyers say such an action is highly unusual.

In an on-air statement Friday, Hall apologized for his comments. He said he did not intend to imply that his station’s newsroom had ever conducted research about minorities and crime.

“Bob Hall has admitted that the research he referred to during questioning was his own, and definitely not done by the newsroom or station,” Watkowski said in an e-mail Sunday to The Bee. “The newsroom has conducted no such research and is not working on any stories about Hispanics and crime.”

Do you wonder if he was just trying to get out of it?

  • Big Word

    He was definitely trying to get out of it. I guess he never figured those comments would go as far as they did.

  • I hope that’s what he was trying to accomplish. But at what cost his credibility and reputation in the biz?

    At the least, we know he’s not going to be accused of liberal bias.