I Drink, I'm Not A Jesus Freak, And I'm Not Really That Creeped Out By Anything

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I saw this post down at Legal Technology:

A MySpace blog entry written by a former intern in the San Francisco public defender's office has prompted the superior court and Public Defender Jeff Adachi to look into whether a lawyer in Adachi's office was once told to keep Asians off a jury. The blogger, Carrie Wipplinger, posted an entry on Sept. 3 about a case that she said involved a drunken man whom authorities found receiving oral sex in a car.

"I got to listen in on a conference regarding jury selection," she wrote. "My bosses gave the following advice to the lawyer … don't pick any Asian jurors, because (and I quote): 'Asians don't drink, they love Jesus, and they're creeped out by everything.'" She wrote that the lawyer followed that advice, and the client was acquitted. The attorneys who worked with the intern deny making such a comment, and it appears that at least one Asian-American juror was seated on that jury.

Both the California and U.S. supreme courts have declared that attorneys may not use their peremptory challenges, which generally do not require any explanation, to dismiss jurors solely because of race or ethnicity. The blogger identifies herself only as Carrie, a 32-year-old law student in San Francisco. Adachi confirmed that she is Wipplinger, a Golden Gate University School of Law student who interned during the fall. [...]

During the Summer 2008 term, Wipplinger was named to the dean's list and received an academic award for her work in a constitutional law course, according to the Golden Gate law school's Web site. Her blog chronicles a roughly 10-month period beginning in February and encompasses her four-month internship at the public defender's office, which ended in December. The case involving the potentially illegal juror challenges is one of several internship experiences she wrote about on her blog.

Adachi said he was "dismayed" that an intern would "apparently write a public blog about her experiences here, including supposedly confidential discussions that she was privy to." He said he is satisfied by Gray and Maloof's explanations and though he is "certainly interested" in speaking with Wipplinger, "she's not here and she's not an employee."

Bryan Hawkins, a San Francisco-based attorney at the firm Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis, prosecuted the Robinson case while working at the district attorney's office on a temporary loan program. Hawkins said on Friday that he could not remember whether anyone of Asian descent made it onto the jury, nor whether Gray appeared to be targeting Asians or any other group with his challenges.

Adachi, a fourth-generation Japanese-American who wrote and directed a documentary film about Asian stereotypes in cinema, said he "would be deeply offended by a suggestion that a whole group of people should be excluded from a jury." He said that, with more than 200 staff members and 200 interns working in the public defender's office each year, Wipplinger's blog "doesn't reflect on my administration."
Obviously there's more going on here, but just for the record (again):

I drink. I'm not a Jesus freak. And I'm not really that creeped out by anything...

Unless you count people who don't want a whole race of people (that would be us) to sit on a jury (especially seeing as how in the past we weren't able to testify against white people) because they think we're all Jesus freaks who can't handle a case about a dude getting a hummer in his car.