The state Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow on whether a computer glitch tainted a jury pool and led to an unfair conviction. An African-American man says he was denied a fair trial because there were not enough prospective minority jurors called to serve.
No one disputes that a computer glitch caused Kent County to send fewer notices to prospective jurors in predominantly African-American neighborhoods than to other parts of the county. The question is whether an inadvertent error entitles Ramon Bryant to a new trial on charges of raping a woman at gunpoint, stealing $90 dollars, and possession of marijuana.
Bryant says Kent County failed to ensure there was a true cross section of the community represented in the jury pool, regardless of whether the error was intentional. Only one prospective juror out of 132 available for Bryant's trial was African-American.
The prosecutor says what Bryant and other criminal defendants deserve is a good faith effort, and there is no reason to believe the computer error denied him a fair trial before a jury of his peers.