Yesterday must have been National Integrity in Journalism Day, because I didn't see a single article bashing the D.A.'s Office for racism. Did I dare let myself believe that this was the entry into a new era of good feelings between the Chronicle and the D.A.'s office?
Nah, I'm not that stupid.
Lisa Falkenberg rode back into town this morning on her old dead horse that she's been beating, with an article about Kelly Siegler and the Lakewood juror. Except, this time she has a new twist on it. Apparently, Kelly had not exercised a peremptory strike on two other Lakewood Church members, but (gasp) they were Hispanic, and not African-American. Falkenberg clearly believes she has now found the smoking gun that proves that Kelly is a racist.
Falkenberg opines that these two dastardly potential jurors even put on their juror cards that they thought the propensity to commit violence could be linked to race. And Kelly still, didn't do her civic duty as a prosecutor and use her peremptory strikes.
So here's the deal, Lisa, because you clearly don't understand trial. Both sides have a certain set of peremptory strikes. If I recall correctly, in a death capital, each side gets 15 peremptory strikes that they can use to strike a juror for any damn reason (as long as it isn't about race).
Now, here's the deal, Lisa, which you don't seem to understand. The number "15" is a long way from infinity. Both sides tend to horde their peremptory strikes and not use them unless they have to. If one side is certain that the other side will have to "burn" one of their strikes, all the much better.
Now, Kelly and her trial partner Luci Davidson, being no dummies, read that two jurors in their questionnaires felt that "blacks are more violent than other racial groups". And, Kelly and Luci also realized that their opponents in the case were also, no dummies. Kelly and Luci knew that there was no way in Hell that Loretta Johnson Muldrow and her trial partner were going to allow those two jurors on the jury.
Does it really stretch a columnist's mind so much to see the strategy here? Okay, let me spell it out to you, Lisa. Kelly and Luci knew that Loretta would have to burn defense strikes on those jurors (if Loretta wasn't able to get the two jurors for cause). Why on earth would they use strikes?
Now, Lisa, I gotta say that I appreciate you for keeping your articles in the Columnist section, and don't pretend to be writing "real news" like Alan Bernstein does on his editorials.
But Loretta, I'm disappointed in you. You know damn good and well how a capital murder voir dire works, and you are manipulating the press to make Kelly Siegler and the D.A.'s Office out to be racists. Where's the article on you for striking not one, but two Lakewood Church members? There's not one? Why is that? Maybe because you had good, sound reasons to?
Does it really stretch the imagination so much to think that maybe Kelly and Luci had some sound reasoning in their trial strategy too?
They did win the trial, after all.