LISTEN: What's Next for Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens
Earlier this week, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton removed Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens from two criminal cases before him, saying Facebook posts from the judge rendered him biased.
Stevens posted on the social networking site this week, accusing Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine of wanting all-white juries in cases with black defendants.
Stevens dismissed a jury in a case before him last year because there were no black members, saying the imbalance was "troublesome." He did essentially the same thing again last month.
Stevens, who has not given an interview, has said in court that the juries and panels with few or no black members don't represent the city's demographics. African-Americans make up 23 percent of Louisville Metro's population, according to the most recent Census data.
“The concern is that the panel is not representative of the community,” Stevens said in court after dismissing a jury panel.
Wine, the county’s top prosecutor, has asked the state Supreme Court to determine whether dismissing a jury on racial grounds was an abuse of the judge’s power. And now, because of the Facebook posts, prosecutors are asking the chief justice to remove Stevens from every criminal case before him.
WDRB.com reporter Jason Riley has been following this story. He talked with WFPL’s Stephen George.
"That's been an hot topic in the community for years," Riley said. "A lot of black defendants have claimed that they've not been judged by a jury of their peers because they've been judged by an all-white jury."