- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa judge who agreed to dismiss a jury pool earlier this year because of a lack of racial diversity has declined to do so the second time around.

Tyrone Washington Jr., 41, is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2013 stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend, Justina Smith, in Northwood.

District Judge Colleen Weiland granted the defense’s motion in May to dismiss a 112-member jury pool after all but one of the prospective jurors had identified themselves as white. One juror had identified himself as Native American.

Washington’s attorney, Charles Kenville, argued the lack of diversity hurt his client’s chances at a fair trial. Washington is black.

Three blacks were among the more than 200 prospective jurors who showed up in court on Tuesday, the Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/1CpeoIP ) reported.

Kenville still said he thought the jury pool was not representative of Webster County’s African-American population and asked the judge to dismiss the pool a second time, but his request was rejected. Kenville said that he doesn’t plan to take up the motion in court again.

An estimated 4 percent to 5 percent of Webster County’s population is black. A representative sample in a pool of 200 jurors would be about 8 to 10 African Americans.

In-court questioning of the potential jurors by attorneys began Tuesday afternoon, and a number of them were dismissed. Some were questioned individually in chambers late Tuesday afternoon.


Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/

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