After learning that Donald Trump had hired South Carolina Butch Bowers to build his core impeachment team, we wondered why the president, who had spent the past four years with Matt Whitaker, Jenna “the Doctor” Ellis and, would rather Heaven surrounded itself. Rudy Giuliani had finally managed to get hold of a lawyer who seemed competent. Maybe things had changed for Team Trump’s HR management?
Fast forward a week …
The Huffington Post headline focuses on Greg Harris, one of the four core members of the Trump defense team. While serving as associate attorney, Harris dismissed a number of black jurors in two trials in 1989. The law requires that an attorney who does such a thing provide a racially neutral reason for dismissal. Harris has apparently decided to ditch the usual options on the racist pretext bingo card:
In one case, Harris beat a 43-year-old black juror who he claimed walked slowly, spoke softly, and aged somewhat. In another case, Harris told the trial judge that he had beaten another potential juror because he was unemployed and appeared “disinterested” in selecting the jury. But he also added a racist stereotype.
“I watched him walk from the jury to the microphone, and I found that he – he peeled and snatched what I had. That’s just my analysis of the way he got here, ”Harris told the court.
Remarkably or perhaps not notably for South Carolina in the 1980s, the court accepted this as neutral, leaving you wondering exactly how far the racist stereotypical rabbit hole Harris could have gone before it hoisted any flags. And we all know that South Carolina is about never lowering flags!
Fortunately, the South Carolina Supreme Court saw some problems here.
The court failed to investigate or comment on the prosecutor’s statement that the jury was beaten for “peeling and scolding”. The use of this racial stereotype is evidence of the prosecutor’s subjective intent to discriminate against and clearly violate Batson’s mandates.
HuffPo speaks to the attorney who brought the case against Harris, Philip Mace:
“It wasn’t a difficult argument,” said Mace. “I came out with a little paper certificate from the ACLU and Greg was promoted to United States Assistant Attorney.”
There is really nothing but an upward trend for this type of behavior within either of the two major political parties in this country. Or maybe both parties – most of the spring was spent cheering Andrew Cuomo’s liberal beliefs and casually proposing him to higher office, and um … does anyone remember 2008?
I wonder if anyone told Harris that he couldn’t shut out the black senators.
Trump Impeachment Lawyer removed a black juror whom he described as “peeled and alive”. [Huffington Post]
Earlier: Trump hires an impeachment attorney Who is … competent ???
Joe Patrice is Senior Editor at Above the Law and co-moderator of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to send tips, questions or comments via email. Follow him on Twitter if you’re into law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe is also the managing director of RPN Executive Search.