Professor Suja Thomas was featured in an extensive interview with Slate, where she defended the jury selection process for the Derek Chauvin trial. In the interview, Thomas, a jury expert, explained how lawyers in the case decided what kind of juror views were too toxic, how it was possible to find people who have never seen the video of Floyd’s death, and why we should believe in the jury system. An excerpt from the interview follows:
(Slate): If you’re a defense lawyer in this case, how are you assessing these jurors?
Thomas: It’s a weird case for a defense lawyer. Usually it’s the government prosecuting. Here, you have this mixed situation where you have a police officer who’s actually a defendant, and the state—who normally employs that police officer—prosecuting him.
This case is a big case. Very few cases go to a jury trial, one, but then two, very few police officers get tried by juries, or get tried at all, because oftentimes there’ll be a judge who tries the case [without a jury] if a trial occurs with a police officer.
Read the full interview at slate.com.