CHBA recently filed an amicus brief with the Colorado Supreme Court in a case involving a Black man, Reginald Clark, who was accused of sexually assaulting a white woman in Gilpin County. During jury selection, a prospective juror admitted to racial bias against Clark, saying that he moved to Gilpin County because he “didn’t want diversity.” Clark’s defense team asked the trial judge to remove the juror for cause, but the judge refused, saying the juror could be fair and impartial despite his “political” opinion about diversity. As a result, Clark had to use one of his six peremptory challenges to remove the juror.
The Colorado Supreme Court will determine whether the trial court’s erroneous denial of Clark’s for-cause challenge to a juror who expressed racial bias was harmless or a structural error.
We strongly believe that Clark’s right to a fair trial was violated by the trial court’s decision. Additionally, we argue that the trial court’s decision had a detrimental effect on the appearance of fairness within the jury system, further eroding confidence in the justice system as a whole. Therefore, the Colorado Supreme Court should reverse the court of appeals’ decision and grant Clark a new trial.
If you are interested in reading the full amicus brief, you can click here.