The Kentucky Supreme Court will decide whether a black Louisville judge abused his power after he reportedly stopped the drug trial of a black man because the jury was all-white.
According to the Courier-Journal, Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens dismissed the jury members despite concerns from both the defense and the prosecutor.
This isn't the first time the judge has asked an all-white jury out of his courtroom. On Nov. 18, at the request of a defense attorney concerned that his client, who was on trial for theft, would not receive a fair judgment, Stevens dismissed an all-white 13-member jury.
"There is not a single African American on this jury, and [the defendant] is an African-American man," Stevens said to a jury on a courtroom recording. "I cannot in good conscience go forward with this jury."
The newspaper notes that a new jury was called in the next day, four of whose members were black.
The Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney’s Office and attorney general have now asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to see if Stevens' jury dismissals based on race surpassed his authority as a judge, the newspaper reports.
A secretary for Stevens told the newspaper that he had no comment.
Read more at the Courier-Journal.