A discussion on picking juries for Wounded Knee trial. Dulcie Lawrence interviews social psychologists Jay Schulman and Richard Christie on how to pick a jury for AIM trial from the standpoint of a social/psychological profile of the population of the judicial district.
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Well, first of all, the reason why the trial of means and Banks and the other leaders was shifted to St. Paul was the pervasive prejudiced what Indians which occurs in South Dakota the defense do the survey throughout the state of South Dakota and I'll finding was that 60% of the people that we surveyed irretrievably prejudiced against American Indians. Now the government is Saturday and even that survey showed about 38% of the people that they do with Predator station, why would there still a survey results be different from yours and he used a fairly sophisticated reasonably intelligent way of asking questions sample and come inside a sample oflike they were sent this very short and simple direct questionnaire, but it's asking whether or not the new era wrestling Dennis and then it asked questions in terms of whether they thought they were guilty or not in the next question. That was it. Take. It would be able to get him a fair trial you responded then had to take this letter down and have it notarized. So if you are Prejudiced and you say your prayers your own record officially United States are saying and Prejudice a big discrepancy between the results results, I think between that and which is guaranteed and the fact that you're under oath in the sand and you are under oath for notary Association and people have to take their questionnaire to the state attorney's office and they expect that the state attorney or the US attorney wants a certain answer. That's what they going to give them. Wanted to know. How are the same Paul was a decent place for this trial to occur? And the answer is obviously is a lot better than than South Dakota but on the other hand, it's not quite as good as the Minnesota this to the Minneapolis District includes nine counties. We run north and south of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has all of these students and professionals so many more then Say Paul also more black people to the kinds of people who would be more likely to share some of the concerns of the defendants are more present in the Minneapolis area than in the Saint Paul Area the same pole Judicial District includes what is called the first and third divisions of the Minnesota federal district and that reaches from Saint Paul to Owatonna down to Rochester up through Stillwater and it's a very substantial area, but surely not the whole state mining news and the Minneapolis set. The district is located you think would reflect her. Cosmopolitan population, what is the technique of finding out who your drawers are likely to be what their prejudices are with their feelings are now we first started this and Harrisburg and Jay adeniyi a friend of Muhammad at Cornell and he was also been very friend of his Dan Berrigan is a Catholic chaplain Cornell at that time. And so he was involved with the defense committee there and because of Harrisburg Area was so seem to be so conservative and nobody knew too much about the people are they managed to persuade the defense committee might be a good idea to conduct a survey and find out a little bit about the population. And so we use standard techniques in terms of Richard off with list of registered voters picked every ins name is 840 and telephone interviews are fairly simple demographic information and then it take 240 people for very intensely face-to-face interviews from Now they're about what 40 people that were involved in the interviewing project at least in Harrisburg. These are all volunteers like because we believe that the government is trying to frame is too strong a word that them. Do this interested in the whole Harrisburg operation was it probably cost about $400 which came from defense committee funds this money. They raised by contributions and so on. And my best that's nothing has been done commercially probably cost from $100,000 and $25,000 and I further have argued that they probably did a better job and interviewing commercial organizational it because you have dedicated volunteers who aren't horsing around every day. You want to pick it up? yeah, I guess you're talkin about the techniques we use the techniques which I supposed to be applied to a question specifically designed for always evolving, but the essence of the techniques are really perhaps five there's a survey that dick mentions and the surveys purpose is to establish the social geography geography of the judicial district, which is not usually known by almost anyone in the area. And it's not just a question of trying to say how many people are old or how many people are white or how many people Lutheran. How many people are Catholic? It's a question of trying to say, what is the interaction between age and religion and sex and occupation and education and a host of other things and General Social attitude. And in this case attitude toward Indians. Or the Gainesville trial attitude toward Vietnam veterans. So we're constantly trying to look at background factors as they influence and shape. General social attitudes which have to do with attitude toward Authority which have to do with attitude toward government. attitude toward lifestyle and then we're also trying to zero in on more specific kinds of attitudes such as attitudes which might be related to the type of friend that the type of crime those defendants are charged with No, it is impossible to go from the group information about Catholics or lutherans are young Catholics or old Catholics to the individual who appears in the courtroom? All we know is that he comes from or she comes from a particular social type, but there is a human being in the courtroom specific person. And so what we are trying to do in the courtroom is understand how that person presents himself or herself. Demographically Dad to come across good you're trying to figure out whether they're lying or not or whether simply it normal variation or the demography isn't picking up the two attitudes or if the demography the background variables are good and they come across the bed. Then you wonder why they're doing that. We are also no trying to assess the relationship between stands and body posture and face and such gestures as a person makes and hand dominance and witness and involvement. These are kinds of Dimensions which people who study kinesics think about there is no science yet of kinesics, but we've all been impressed with the relationship between body and and stands to various attitudes. And so there are a couple of people in the courtroom, who are looking at that those of the in courtroom techniques then we have an out courtroom today because not only well Harby's an anthropologist and June tab psychologist. She has two of them. We have the Creek Indian medicine man, who is making observations the two dependents are making observations ground where we supposed to be here is supposed to be the only Christian Psychology major league sized up everybody else on the jury. With a 26 year old black one year location school after college, but he lived in that area all his life, but he was very sensitized to predict exactly how every one of them was going to respond to the issues in the trial and turn the start of argument was one mistake. You made the same mistake we did and made mistake there too. And but he was better than the other church members quite frequently. You don't have a special senses are aware of things that we are involved in the trial Dick's mention of the the input of the medicine men and also the is an important development for us because in the past defendants have made contributions and important ones but this is the first time we have been we have been partners with a group of Accu and knowledgeable men that matter women from a particular minardi group from which descendants come and as if these are their spiritual leaders and their spiritual leaders are engaged in this jury selection process as equal Partners, that's that's a entirely new development for us to see that any Indians have so far been selected and is there at what what chances are there and we will have it. the I think you're listening to what I understand a little bit about that the government starts with an enormous add any criminal trial because the people who are most representative jury wheel other Guardians of the Norms of the community and the people who are least represented are the people who are Let us stay out of joint with the sum of the Norms of the community or challenging those norms and this is especially true in relationship to man already groups because the jury wheel is based upon registered voters entirely upon registered voters in federal cases, so that I asked the maid there a 15000 Indians in a population of a half million registered voters and all those 15000 Indian. I asked Nate that about 3,000 are registered voters. Will you do the arithmetic $3,000 a half a million the chances of an Indian coming in in a panel of 200 are non small black coming in the chances of a Chicano come in on Dawn small until the 18-year olds vote was passed the chances of a young person coming in or not. How about this time? We have a lot of young people but then again students don't choose to serve because they're in college. So we've had quite a number of students to 19 20 21 seek excuses. Now, we all know that young people have attitudes which are more that I say suspicious of authority than old people but the but so many of the young people particularly during the school year opt out because of their commitment to their school. So here we have a situation where professionals are able to get excused teachers. For example have a mandatory excuse under the jury plan professionals are almost non-existent and young people are underrepresented and blacks and Chicago's and Indians almost aren't there so that those groups which we all Agree with tend to be a little bit more suspicious of authority than most groups are almost always underrepresented in the jury wheel. Don't know I want to ask you about publicity in the effect of publicity on selecting a jury so far. We're in the paper that the prospective jurors are as I said earlier or just practically innocent of any any knowledge or awareness of Wounded Knee and then the trial itself does this work in favor of the Defense AR or opposed to understand that this is not surprising. We went through a number of trials in Harrisburg. Almost no one knew anything about the Vietnam War and the Vietnam War been going on for 9 or 8 years so that there are some people in this country who believe that Americans are knowledgeable about important events the factors that most Americans simply don't know much about important events and don't respond very much to those important events. 40 who can identify Elizabeth McAlister who have been in newspapers quite a bit. And this was you know, how much I guess before the trial started 98% of a herd of Martha Mitchell Johnny Carson. I eat at 96% and 98% about the relationship between exposure to the media and presumption of guilt that mean people who are well-informed likely to be in a relationship between exposure sensitivity and punitiveness. The more people are exposed the more the more they become sensitized the more likely they are to think in terms of people being guilty. And that was what we discovered for some of the work that we did around the Harrisburg trial and that We submitted it off of David based on This research in the Ellsberg trial and that affidavit was apparently quite helpful in the dismissal of the first jury, which you may remember was impaneled. The government had had a tap on one of the trial lawyers phone and the trial was post was was suspended and the case was always a supreme court mean time. There was a presidential campaign and Agnew was comparing the Ellsberg leaking of the Pentagon papers to the break-in at the Watergate and there was all this exposure and the Appellate Court actually overrule judge burn and dismiss the first jury based upon some of our argument about the relationship between exposure sensitivity and punitiveness. Can can you draw any conclusions? To apply to the Wounded Knee trial from from your previous work. Are you would you be more apt to do to be more interested in a person who knew about Wounded Knee and had read a little history and who was familiar with the situation or this is an apartment number of other variables go into it or something because they're against them some people read about these cases because they know these people are the field a strong is these people are threat and so they're very interesting news about it on the other hand to get some people at the Other Extreme who might be very sympathetic toward and into read books on Wounded Knee who Do this because they are generally interested but these are usually I'm an authority of the samples if you're going to get and people are one extreme to the other more likely to be more familiar with the background of the case has sympathy toy Indians in Minnesota. This is one of the findings that we have from our survey is almost as romanticizing of perhaps because Indians have been oppressed here in Minnesota, and they have been defined as a threat as undesirable in South Dakota have a problem is that the attitude toward Indians, which is generally sympathetic is also present with very conservative attitudes that is a whole range of attitudes. There are conservative attitudes which go along with this sympathy and liberal attitudes would go along with this simple thing. And so it's not really easy to understand what all of that means the judge is conducting all the questioning in the what is called. The judge nickel is doing a very extensive searching Guardian. And it is perfectly possible that he may or anyone who was conducting of War idea might to the Rossum sometimes of a Sentimental Feeling exposed to Raw nerve or touch on something that was sort of locked away. That's always possible. But he's a very nice and naughty authoritarian individual and my guess is that he does not really do that very much with the prospective jurors on the other hand. Someone like George Hoffman might well bring out a lot of reaction or someone like judge Auto in Florida who was very ornery Critter certainly did that and the judge has an enormous amount of obviously. sequester the jury has been read and he has made that clear that he might do it and it's been surprising here. How many people have been able to say well they still could serve on a sequestered jury, which means props four to five months away from family job. I mean celibacy means a lot of things and I've just been very surprised with how many people so they could serve know what are the judge will sequester not my guess is will depend upon whether or not there is some event which he feels might contaminate the jury's capacity to to render their decision. If there's some some event which explosion the media or some some disturbance which occurs or lawyers or government or defend on sound begin flooding the media with too many sentiments. He like then feel that he have to insulate or print. Would you rate from all of this stimulus and then that Jerry be kind of the social system on its own doesn't it with its own set of Dynamics do things change within that social structure dude, what it want an opinion changed somebody be influenced by the opinion of his fellow jurors or someone that he liked on the jury for free or 4 months and everyone who has had that experience or for that matter on a ship boys for 3 or 4 months and then of course doesn't mean that all kinds of queer and strange and weird. Dynamic we have been right each time on who the foreperson of the jury would be who the group would elect and that is crucial to the whole process of trying to form a jury if we are not able to be to think about who the probable leaders of that. I going to be when we haven't done our our homework. We haven't really been thinking adequately about the interrelationship the Dynamics of the people. We are trying to select the system of criminal jurisprudence. The United States is really so not understood by all Americans I don't think there are a hundred people in the state of Minnesota outside of the legal profession in there are so many in the legal profession to understand. Isn't taught in the schools where do people learn about it, except if they've been victims props ex-cons of the people who know more about it outside of the legal profession. and where I trying to search communicate is the enormous Advantage the government has in any criminal trial simply because of the composition of the jury will the structure of the criminal system and all we're trying to do Is the slightly offset as much as we can. That eat that Advantage by bringing together, whatever intelligence we can to help the defense lawyers to get a reasonable jury, that does not assure a fair trial. What does body show a fair trial at that trial is terribly hard to come by in United States? And anywhere else before anywhere else you got to comment on the time to trial which many priests and nuns were involved. a Jesuit priest observing hundreds of people hundreds of ordinary Americans come in and say leaving nothing about the Vietnam War and had not affected their lives introduced. The motion are representing themselves introduced the motion to dismiss the panel for Morrow idiocy. God was very taken by that motion. I think we all were and I think that's a characteristic of the American situation which really does not get adequate discussion. Where were all of the Americans when the Vietnam War was going on that you get when you see after all 450 people come through the Harrisburg Court when you see three hundred people come through the Camden Court a random selection of the people from Lowe's judicial districts in central, Pennsylvania. In Southern New Jersey in Northern Florida in Orange County, California here also substitute Wounded Knee for Vietnam war movies observations Master showman something that could be used to provide the necessary evidence that we need to change the system altogether and complete changes. But how it's going to come about is a question which I will take as long as I certainly believe that there are there is a need for a fundamental change in society and send it to work that you do is going to be continuing importance not only in in Trials of this nature, but in every kind of trial would you say one of the things that's interesting on this is the fact that They're more political trials May Cry all you know people that are anti-war pro civil rights and proceed, We just sort of thing around the country and what is happening people are finding out about this and just make it not making him at people beginning to think about the show their process so loved the Church of cases that are coming up we're going to be involved in the Attica Brothers trial Tulare County which brings in the City of Buffalo, which is it got completely different characters in St. Paul. I want two things I find fascinating about this is the sort of social geography of particular Judicial District is fantastically different place to place Harrisburg was not like Gainesville St. Paul is not like either of them. And so what we basically have your set of techniques which we use but you have to start a plug-in the variables that you come across any particular Judicial District problem means and Dennis Banks put it very well the other day they said they would never go to trial again without the kind of support that is involved in the trial and they were not just referring to the very good lawyers. They have they referring to this jury project which is involved as well. and the problem is that hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people accused of felonies in the country, please because not because they are necessarily guilty, but they cannot afford the risk of a jury trial given the advantages that the government hasn't given the lack of resources that they have until one of our problems is to try to generate a way of extending these techniques so that people who are ordinary felonies on they have the advantage of them and that's terribly hard problem bottom it surprising if it was saying how many people are beginning to sort of think about these techniques and use them and if they are used in They are used a lot what I can begin to see happening. Is that in places like New York or Chicago very large cities. charge fellows will begin to up for jury trial that only 1% of all of the charged people have jury trials and you can give that moves to 5% that will put enormous pressure on the whole court system and oblige very real changes in that system and be hired by the court to do this these enquiries or will that be up to the defendant himself to find to find his team of Of surveyors. I wonder how that will have to experiment with that. That's a very hard situation if you work for the Legal Aid Society or you work for public defender's office you work in effect for the government. And it's not all clear how one can generate the social services that are required without becoming Associated even in a condo some arm's length away with the with the other side. That's a very difficult problem with that have to be solved with these techniques if I'll be able to become available to ordinary felons Administration and it's radical critics misrepresent and Miss understand the values in cycle dynamics of these Americans meaning the jurors who were served in the Harrisburg try and I took that as an optimistic comment and I'm not sure after hearing you this morning, whether that's that interpret that ride or not. I've been very impressed with has been once you screen out the More obvious, obviously bigger than individuals and like most of the jurors for example of Harrisburg didn't know that much about the case. I had a time that you know everything but they take very seriously judges charges, you know about Happy prove. Guilt Beyond A Reasonable Doubt. And this is one of this is the optimistic note know once they understand exactly what's going on here. And of course we have been in Trials where the government's case was relying upon paid informers everything discrepancy. These guys are coming across like $3 bills boy Douglas in the Harrisburg labor and the others in Gainesville. And one of the things may be young woman in Gainesville with twenty-five years old politically before your trial was the first Informer was on the stand. The prosecution team is sitting directly in front of the jury box and Holly Witnesses on the stand looking up there and I noticed it when the juror Mini your witness didn't remember the answer to question. One of the prosecuting attorneys who have the Justice Department Washington. I was pulling his ear and then I am didn't remember anything. He scratched his chin and then remember and she couldn't believe her eyes. She literally couldn't believe her eyes. They're taking the judge instructions extremely seriously, they're not supposed to discuss any aspect of the case for the last next two weeks natural dating or not. I mean, this is United States of America this can't possibly happen here. But there it was so as soon as they got in the Jury Room in the other women that was just really close to enough. You're right, but I noticed it ain't got the prosecuting that you mean that signal but they said these five minute. I'll pick this up independently. They're all shocked and horrified by it. But they wouldn't say anything about it because those are the judge's instructions, you know, this is an optimistic noticed people take this responsibility very seriously. If you can just put in fact participate as drawers in these crimes of trials, they would not be the same again. And the problem it seems to me is the media. Does not do its job in trying to project what this experience is on these people so that other Americans here in Minnesota can begin to understand what moon did he was about and what these a teenager has 12 zeros and six alternates what experience does for 5 month trial flight tomorrow equivalent to combat? And the media simply has no idea of how to cover this kind of thing thing. So that Americans were watching the media and having to learn from the media can begin to place themselves in the same situation that goes 18 people. They don't even really talk to those 18 people in any way shape or form which enables them to convey to their fellow-citizens what it meant to go through such an experience. We were down in Gainesville after that trial but came back with a hundred hours of tape material crush doesn't do that radio people. Don't do that television people don't do that. What's wrong with all of you that you know, I think I'm more people All the shiny dark old people's names in a headline, you know her doing this I want to send that are like men understand understand and they respond directly to what is going on here and all of a sudden they are going to really taken aback. Now course. I was not nearly as stupid as being a jury box for you have the responsibility is life-or-death Dart, you know of a good portion somebody's life. So it's not nearly as strong an impression. Of course, you don't pick up nearly as much on the TV room. but done on the medium-term the Watergate covered. I think that was a very good education learning experience in which you can actually see these carriages understand if they didn't questions sort of thing. You don't pick up when you're impacted yet when you will agree to a headliner skim a story very quickly.