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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
United States v. Jones
Citation:36 F.Supp.2d 304.
The defendant is an African-American. On May 31, 1998, he was operating his car in the wrong direction on a one-way street. The police officer stopped defendant’s vehicle and determined that defendant’s driver’s license was suspended. During a search of the vehicle subsequent to the stop, the police officer discovered marijuana, a nine-millimeter pistol, and drug paraphernalia.
The defendant was initially charged with violating state statutes. However, a program designated “Project Exile” resulted in the transfer of his case for prosecution in federal court. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that his due process rights were violated because his prosecution in federal, rather than state, court is an unconstitutional attempt to avoid a jury pool consisting of greater numbers of African-Americans. The parties were unable to provide the Court precise empirical data concerning either the race of Project Exile defendants or the racial composition of the relevant jury pools. However, the parties agree to these general facts. Both Norfolk and Richmond have significant African-American populations. The vast majority, and perhaps as many as ninety percent of the defendants prosecuted under Project Exile are African-American. The jury pool for the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond is approximately seventy-five percent African-American. The jury pool for the Richmond Division of the Eastern District of Virginia is drawn from a broader geographic area. In contrast to the state jury pool, it is only about ten percent African-American.
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