A mistrial in political consultant Sam Riddle’s corruption case is renewing the debate over the racial makeup of juries in Metro Detroit, reports the Detroit News. Lawyers for the former city council aide raised the issue before the trial even started, and its outcome only stoked the issue. Jurors described a racial division that couldn’t be overcome to reach a verdict. They said race was an issue in the breakdown of the discussions.
Jurors said all but one of the 12 was ready to convict Riddle on all or some of the counts, but Angela Woods, the lone black juror, held out — even accusing others of wanting to “hang the black man.” The case had racial overtones from the start. Riddle’s lawyers filed a motion seeking a new trial before arguments began, claiming that not enough prospective jurors were black. Wayne County has struggled with black representation on juries for years. A recent study found that blacks comprise about 27 percent of Wayne County juries but 42 percent of the population.