The issue of race abruptly halted jury selection in the Liberty City Six terrorism trial Wednesday, when attorneys for the Miami defendants — most of whom are black — moved to strike all 11 prospective jurors picked so far.
U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard's decision to put a stop to the divisive selection process cast a pall over the beleaguered case, which is being tried for the third time after two juries could not reach verdicts.
Lenard ruled after siding with federal prosecutors, who had objected to the seating of a young Haitian-American man on the panel.
Prosecutors contended the man was being "disingenuous" when he gave different answers about his history, claiming to work as a security guard and part-time DJ and also attending Miami Dade College. Defense lawyers countered that prosecutors were being "judgmental," accusing them of only challenging prospective black jurors.
"This does not constitute a jury of his peers," attorney Rod Vereen said, referring to his client, Stanley Grant Phanor, who is black.
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