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Judge Takes Jury Selection into His Own Hands
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Judge Olu Stevens

Summary: A Jefferson County Judge wanted to see more black members on a jury so he dismissed the called jury and had a new one called up that suited his demand.

A Jefferson Circuit Court Judge was unhappy with the members a jury so he sent them back and selected a new jury despite the defense and prosecution’s objections. Judge Olu Stevens cited a lack of minorities on the jury, not representing the community properly and this is not the first time he has done this.


After this latest incident, the Attorney General and the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office have asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to review Stevens’ actions to determine if he is abusing his authority. Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Dorislee Gilbert noted that there was no evidence that the jury would not be fair because of their race.

The County has had issues in the past with a lack of minorities being on a jury when there was a black defendant. The Racial Fairness commission is aware of the problem and has been studying the trend for years.

This is not the first time Judge Stevens has stirred the waters. He has been nicknamed “Judge Selfie” because of his obsessively frequent posts of himself on Facebook and has been called a racist. In a previous case he presided over, a family was held at gunpoint by two black men, causing the 5-year-old to be afraid of black men. Stevens blamed the parents for “fostering” her fear.

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His supporters call him hard working, but just as many also call him arrogant. He stated during one case, “When I make a ruling, that’s it. I don’t want you coming back up here again,” when a young public defender approached the bench. He is also quick to threaten lawyers with sanctions. His judicial evaluation for his first year was at 81 percent, but dramatically declined to 69 percent two years later, the biggest decline for any active judge.




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