“The following is a statement from Ebonie Riley, Washington DC Bureau Chief of the National Action Network: ‘We are disappointed in the decision of the court but unfortunately not surprised. As we have seen throughout the years, when officers opt for a trial by judge rather than by a jury, acquittal is the result. We have been through this with Sean Bell and far too many other cases in the past. This is exactly the reason we are calling for lowering the bar for federal prosecution, and greater involvement of the federal government in cases like this. In federal court, a jury trial cannot be waived without the consent of the prosecution — and we believe that is a fairer, more just process. We continue to stand with the Gray family,” blah, blah, blah.
However, what she doesn’t realize about Federal court cases is that their jury pools draw from more than just the immediate jurisdiction of the location of the Federal court house. A Federal criminal trial in Baltimore, because there is only one Federal trial level circuit for the whole state of Maryland, draws its prospective jury pool from the whole state. It means that a Federal jury at the Federal court house in Baltimore would not be as black as a state criminal trial in Baltimore, whose jury pool can only come from the “county” of Baltimore City. Sure, the advantage, in the mind of Ebonie Riley, would come from the fact that the U.S. Attorneys would not sign off on a bench trial, but the disadvantage is that there would be white people from the Eastern Shore and the Appalachian panhandle on the jury.