Black defendants, white juries - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Black defendants, white juries

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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - It was a high profile criminal trial - that resulted in a hung jury.

Chadbourn Town Manager Stevie Cox was on trial last month in Columbus County - accused of impersonating a police officer. Cox is African-American. The jury that failed to reach a consensus had eight white members and four minorities.

Although the jury foreman said the defendants' race never came up during deliberations, it is interesting to note that our courthouse sources say all four of the minority jurors believed Cox to be innocent. WECT spoke to some of those jurors after the trial.

Pamela Mitchel, one of the minority jurors, told us why she didn't think Cox was guilty: "I think he was truthful, he said everything that happened, he gave his license, registration, and the badge, but he did not impersonate Chief Shaw."

But Mitchel's fellow juror, Donald Wise, who is white, saw things differently. "I personally would take the side of the officer, as to his seeing a badge."

Local defense attorneys say the racial balance of a jury can make all the difference in determining the outcome of a trial. But attorneys in Wilmington say seating a jury that's racially diverse can be next to impossible.

Monday night, WECT's Ann McAdams explains why attorneys make this claim, and what if anything is being done about it.  Meanwhile, let us know what you think.  Comment in the section below.  Do you think juries in New Hanover County are racially diverse? 

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