(WXYZ) - Kwame Kilpatrick’s attempts to challenge the jury selection process for his trial have hit a road block.
The Court of Appeals has just issued a ruling Friday, and the judges sided with the government. That means Kilpatrick won’t be getting more detailed information for a challenge of how jurors are selected.
Back in May, Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyers asked a federal judge to dismiss the indictment that charges the former mayor with racketeering, bribery, extortion, and tax fraud. The reason: long-time Kilpatrick lawyer Jim Thomas alleges the racial make-up of the grand jury that indicted his client could have been improper.
Earlier this month, Thomas told 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo that the continuing problems with diversity in the jury pool for the federal court in Detroit could mean his client’s constitutional rights have been violated.
“If it determines there was systematic exclusion of the grand jury, then of course, that would challenge the integrity of that indictment,” said Thomas.
The Chief Judge of the Eastern District denied Thomas’ request to access more detailed information about how jurors are selected – so he asked the Court of Appeals to overturn that ruling. Those judges refused – saying today that it’s too soon to raise that issue in Kilpatrick’s case.
Thomas says he wanted to address the jury pool issue now – so if he needs to appeal at the end of the case, there’s a proper record to protect Kilpatrick’s rights.
“The racial compositions of the juries that are in this eastern district of Michigan, should be around 22 percent. Typically we’re getting 7 percent, 8 percent response rate. It raises a constitutional question. You have a right to be tried by a jury of your peers,” said Thomas.
This isn’t the first time the jury make up in Detroit has become an issue in a trial.
Jury selection will continue on Sept. 6, when Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, friend Bobby Ferguson and former Detroit water department boss Victor Mercado are all scheduled to go to trial on federal charges that they ran a criminal enterprise.
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