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Importance of the Jury in Arbery Case

Ahmaud Arbery - BBC

Page Pate, who is recognized as a criminal defense and constitutional attorney, has been representing clients facing serious state and federal criminal charges for over 25 years. Page is frequently contacted by the media to discuss significant cases in the news. 

In this case, BBC contacted Page to discuss the almost all-white jury that has been empaneled in Glynn County, Georgia for the trial of the individuals charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man who was killed while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia in 2020. 

The jury selection process in this case took two and a half weeks and resulted in an almost all-white jury (11 whites and 1 black). The prosecutors in the case accused the defense attorneys of eliminating potential jurors based on their race, and the judge acknowledged that it appeared to be intentional. Page commented to BBC that “This is a case that is going to involve a lot of testimony and evidence about racial prejudice and racial feelings, especially in this South Georgia community…It’s a great place but it’s very divided racially.”

With regard to the elimination of black potential jurors, Page further explained that “there’s a strong likelihood you either knew Ahmaud Arbery or someone in his family, because it’s a very close knit community, or you were involved on social media or in demonstrations” and he also said “As a result, I think there was more scrutiny placed on potential black jurors just by nature of their community.”

Page noted that the judge was following the law in his conclusion that he did not have the authority to reseat a new jury because there were other reasons besides race that caused certain jurors to be struck. Page indicated that while the judge’s position on the matter was expected, given the controversial nature of the situation, his comments could have been worded differently.