Rachel Maddow on Monday again demonstrated how absolutely pathetic a journalist she is.
Without anything in the court records to support her assertion - in fact, the transcript of the proceedings thoroughly refutes it - Maddow claimed on the MSNBC program bearing her name that an African-American man was tossed off a Louisiana jury in a 2009 murder trial because he protested the presence of a Confederate flag in front of the courthouse (video follows with transcript and extensive commentary):
RACHEL MADDOW: The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate of any country in the world. We like to spend money locking people up here. We put more of our own citizens in prison than any other country in the world. USA, USA, USA!
MADDOW: That said, only a small proportion of those locked up in the U.S. are locked up by the federal government. In federal prison, most of the Americans in prison are in prisons that are run by the states. So, in the most incarcerated country on earth, what’s the most incarcerated place in the country? It is not that easy to find out.
Not that easy to find out? Well, all I did was a Google search of the words "incarceration rates by state" and I immediately found a nice chart at Public Agenda. But I digress:
MADDOW: But at the Web site of the Sentencing Project, they’ve got this cool, nifty rollover map where you can get the incarceration rate for every state in the country just by moving your mouse around the country. And you can see when you do it that way that the use of prison in this country all essentially just drips down to the Southeast and it pools in Louisiana. All of the highest rates of incarceration are in the Southeast, but the closer you get to Louisiana, the higher your rate of locking up your citizens more or less.
The national average per 100,000 population is about 500 people in prison -- 500 nationally. Louisiana is at 881. The only states that come anywhere near Louisiana in terms of how much of their population they lock up are the states that touch Louisiana or that try to -- Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma. They are vaguely in competition with Louisiana but are left way behind.
In the country that locks up more people than anywhere in the world, by a mile, Louisiana locks up more people than anywhere else by a mile.
By a mile? Hardly.
According to Public Agenda, Louisiana's incarceration rate per 100,000 is 865. Mississippi's is 734, or about 15 percent lower.
What Maddow also chose to not inform her viewers was that in 2008, Louisiana had the third highest crime rate in the nation. This was down from number two in 2007. Think there's a correlation?
Taking this further, if you have a lot of crime in your state, wouldn't you want a high incarceration rate? Wouldn't that be a sign that the criminal justice system was working, and that police and prosecuting attorneys were doing a good job of bringing criminals to justice?
Conversely, wouldn't a low incarceration rate in a high crime state suggest those involved in law enforcement were doing a poor job?
Such logic obviously eluded Maddow as she instead opted to blame Louisiana's high incarceration rate on - wait for it! - the Confederacy:
MADDOW: During the Confederacy, during the course of the Civil War, Louisiana as a Confederate state had three different state capitals. They had to keep giving up their state capitals and founding new ones as Union troops kept invading them and taking them over in succession. The only Confederate Louisiana state capital that Union troops did not take over, as far as I understand it, was the city of Shreveport, tucked up into the far northwest corner of the state. Shreveport held on even after Robert E. Lee surrendered in April, 1865. They held on as long as they could.
In the reconstruction era just after the Civil War, Caddo Parish earned the nickname the "bloody Caddo" for its high proportion of black citizens who were murdered. Congressional inquiries and historians documented the white posses and paramilitary organizations that maintained Caddo parish as the last stand of the Confederacy in more ways than one.
In 1902, Caddo Parish gifted a parcel of land to the daughters of the Confederacy to put up this monument. It is a monument to Caddo Parish being supposedly the last place on land where the Confederate flag was lowered after the South lost the war. The monument has busts of four Confederate generals, Confederate general its corner. Its top has an anonymous Confederate soldier holding a rifle. Cleo, the muse of history, is depicted below the words "Lest we forget."
That monument went up in front of the courthouse in 1902. In 1951, in case, the meaning wasn’t clear enough, with those four Confederate generals and all the rest -- in 1951, they added to it -- they added a flag pole and the Confederate flag. And there it stands, still, outside the Caddo Parish courthouse today in 2011.
Got that? So, there's a Confederate monument and flag in front of the courthouse. Now here comes the punch line:
MADDOW: Two years ago this week, a 30-year resident of Shreveport named Carl Staples was summoned to jury duty at that courthouse, the one with the confederate monument and flag out front. Mr. Staples called the parish clerk’s office to say he did not want to attend jury duty because of that Confederate flag out front. The clerk told him a warrant would be interest -- a warrant for his arrest would be issued if he did not show up to serve. So, Carl Staples went to the courthouse to fulfill his civic responsibility. He ended up in the case of an African-American man accused of killing a white man.
Notice how Maddow glossed over the charges?
Felton Dorsey was accused of staging a home invasion robbery with an accomplice in which they bound a 79-year-old woman to a chair while they looted her home. When her son, a recently retired fire chief, stopped by to check on her, they beat him to death in front of his mother and set the house on fire with both of them still in it.
The elderly woman managed to escape, fleeing past her son's burning body to get help. His brother responded to the scene extinguishing the blaze that included his brother's remains.
The prosecution presented evidence during the trial including cell phone records, multiple accomplice witnesses, testimony from the defendant's own girlfriend and her cousin. The murder weapon was found under the defendant's bed with his DNA and that of the victim's on it.
So convincing was the case that the jury only deliberated for 45 minutes before finding the defendant guilty as charged.
You can see why Maddow chose to ignore these inconvenient details. She also opted to not tell her viewers that the judge presiding over the trial, John D. Mosely, was a highly-respected African-American jurist in the Parish. But I once again digress:
MADDOW: During the jury selection process, Mr. Staples restated his objection to the Confederate flag flying yards away. He told the courtroom that it was "a symbol of one of the most heinous crimes ever committed to another member of the human race and I just don’t see how you could say that. I mean, you’re here for justice and then again you overlook this great injustice by continuing to fly this flag."
Readers are advised that while Maddow was saying this, a photo of Monday's Wall Street Journal article concerning this matter was on the screen. Although she may have used this piece as a source of information, she offered her viewers conclusions neither reached by the Journal nor supported by the court transcripts:
MADDOW: The prosecutor in the case moved to strike Carl Staples from the jury, saying that based on those comments, he could not be fair in the case. The judge granted the motion. There were seven remaining qualified black prospective jurors. The prosecution successfully moved to strike five of them.
But Carl Staples was taken off that jury specifically because of his stated objections to the Confederate flag flying outside the courthouse. The jury in the end consisted of 11 white people and one African-American, one African-American woman. The man on trial in the case is named Felton Dorsey. He was eventually convicted. He was sentenced to death.
This is utter nonsense, and could easily have been refuted if Maddow and her staff bothered to take the time to review Staples' questioning in the courtroom.
Although complicated and lengthy, it is important for readers to not only understand just how absurd Maddow's position was, but also how easy it would have been to identify the truth if she or those involved in her program cared to do so. The following comes directly from the transcript of the court proceeding involving jury selection for the trial of Felton Dorsey. Readers are advised that such transcripts can contain many spelling and punctuation errors:
BRADY O'CALLAGHAN, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY QUESTION. Sir, do you think your concern about your wife's ability to go to work and do whatever she needs to do would distract YOU i f you were selected as a juror?
A. (By Mr. Brown) Yes, it would.
Q. Do you feel.that it would prevent you from giving either side a fair trial based on the evidence?
A. (By Mr. Brown) Yes, it would.
Q. How about you, Mr. Staples?
A. (By Mr. Staples) I have personal convictions in regards to the criminal justice system.
Q. Okay. And, you know, I am happy to talk to you about that in just a minute.
A. (By Mr. Staples) Okay.
Q. I want to just stay focused on the sequestration issue for right now. And then a little later in the voir dire, I think there
would be a good opportunity for us to explore those and see if it's going to impair you too much.
A. (By Mr. Staples) I would like to explain it in private with the judge and the court officials.
Q. We can make those arrangements. I'll make a note.
A. (By Mr. Staples) Okay.
Q. Just focusing on the sequestration issue, would it present a hardship fo'r you, Mr. Staples?
A. (By Mr. Staples) It would.
Q. Can you explain, please.
A. (By Mr. Staples) Well, financially. I only have a part-time job.
Q. If you were to miss, am I correct in gathering that you won't get p a i d if you don't work?
A. (By Mr. Staples) I won't get paid.
Q. Would the lost income from a week or two of sequestration put you i n d i r e f i n a n c i a l straits as far as any house payments or rent or anything like that?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Yes, it would.
Q. Do you feel that your concerns about the financial situation might keep you from giving both sides a fair trial and that you
might be distracted from hearing all the evidence and listening to the arguments of the lawyers?
A. (By Mr. Staples) I believe my opinions that I have to express to the Court in regards to the system, I think that might be more detrimental in say this gentleman having a fair trial.
So, when Staples was first questioned concerning the potential of him serving on the jury, he made it clear that he didn't want to. This was not only for financial reasons but also personal ones that he wanted to discuss in private.
This is obviously in stark contrast to Maddow's claim, "Carl Staples went to the courthouse to fulfill his civic responsibility."
Later, during questioning by first the prosecution and then the defense, Staples made clear why he was opposed to serving:
MR. O'CALLAGHAN: Your Honor, back on the record, we are outside the presence of the prospective jurors. We were discussing at the bench, the State would suggest subject to any defense counsel's objection returning those jurors who expressed significant hardships about sequestration, expressed significant preconceived opinions based on pretrial publicity, and I would like to bring back Mr. Staples to find out what his issues with the entire criminal justice.
(Whereupon the prospective juror was seated in the courtroom.)
THE COURT: That's fine right there, Mr. Staples. We just brought you in to ask you a few questions outside the presence of the other jurors. Is the State ready proceed.
MR. O'CALLAGHAN: Yes, Your Honor. Thank you, sir.
VOIR DIRE EXAMINATION BY MR. O'CALLAGHAN:
Q. Mr. Staples, you v o i c e d some -- I don't want to put words in your mouth -- some grave concerns or some attitudes about the criminal justice that you felt needed to be explored privately. This is as about as p r i v a t e a s we can g e t . I f you c o u l d share that with us, so you can let us know if you think that's going to affect your jury service.
A. (By Mr. Staples) I do not fully embrace the criminal j u s t i c e system due t o t h e fact tha't I had the experience of some
so-called injustices in growing up in Chicago. I was born and raised in Chicago.
A. (By Mr. Staples) During the '60s and ' 7 0 s .
Q. And that was a turbulent time.
A. Very turbulent time, very turbulent.
Q. Do you feel that those attitudes and those experiences in Chicago, you know, two things, one, I'm not trying to argue wit'h you.I'm just trying to get how you f e e l .
A. (By Mr. Staples) Okay.
Q. And maybe we disagree on this, but it has been a while.
A. (By Mr. Staples) About forty-one years.
Q. It's a different, you know, different time. Do you think that you still have some issues with the criminal justice system even though that time has passed and there have been a lot of changes in our country?
A. (By Mr. S t a p l e s ) I s t i l l have issues.
Q. Do you think that those would impair you from being a fair juror to either side?
A. (By Mr. Staples) They would.
Q. I'll just go ahead and ask, I think I know, but which side do you f e e l l i k e YOU would have problem accepting or giving a fair shake?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Well, as I said before, I just don't embrace the system wholeheartedly. I do respect the laws which
were say implemented say by the f e d e r a l government, state governments or local governments, so on. I do respect and abide by the laws, but so far as participating in the say penalties that are being issued for breaking those laws, I don't feel that I would a good person to have that power delegated to someone.
Q. Do you think you would find it really hard to ever convict anyone of a crime?
A. (By Mr. Staples) I would, I would.
For those familiar with a criminal voir dire, this would have been enough for the prosecuting attorney to challenge this juror. You can't have on a jury someone that admits he would find it hard ever convicting anyone of a crime.
Readers are also advised that Staples up to this point had not said one word about the Confederate flag in front of the courthouse. This would not come up at all during prosecution's examination:
Q. I mean, I appreciate your candor. So is there anything that I say or the defense lawyer likely to change your view about that?
A. (By Mr. Staples) The events that occurred made a very profound effect on my, say, psyche or existence or whatever. And if you would like for me to elaborate, I would.
Q. I mean, if you feel comfortable. I'm not -- I need to know whether or not you can be a fair juror. I need to know that. And I feel like you are telling me, if you want to share what happened to make that clearer, by all means.
A. (By Mr. Staples) I guess you could say I'm a throwback to the ' 6 0 s . I was, like I said, attending school in Chicago. T h e r e was an incident that occurred at one of the elementary schools where a child was struck by a bus. And there was no stoplight at this particular intersection where the s c h o o l k i d s would frequent, say, after school. And a friend of mine, personal friend of mine, by the Johnny Sotre, he organized a protest to, say, protest against the city and the other people in power or whatever to have a stop light installed at this particular corner.
This bears repeating: the prospective juror's negative feelings about the criminal justice system go back to when he was a child in Chicago. To this point, he had still said not one word about the Confederate flag in front of a courthouse in Louisiana:
A. (By Mr. Staples) This went on for I guess several weeks and, of course, the city gave in and the stoplight was installed. And several weeks after this had occurred,, this young gentleman was gunned down by a member of the Chicago Police Department. And it was the usual scenario which was given in, say, as a result of something like this, it was said that he was stopped to be questioned and a scuffled ensued, the gun went off and the ricochet hit him in the back of the head. Okay. Now, on the day of his funeral -- this was once again in Chicago -- his brother was summoned. He was serving in Vietnam. His older brother was summoned to come home for the funeral. On the day of his funeral, his older brother was also gunned down by the Chicago Police Department. This was under the pretense that he had robbed t h e A & P Grocery store after the funeral. And this, like I said, these incidents of, I would call them, just flagrant injustice, you know, i t ’ s just made a p r o f o u n d effect or impact on me, and I have reservations about the so-called criminal justice system in that regard.
So, folks were allegedly shot by Chicago police officers decades ago, and this led the prospective juror to have a negative view of our criminal justice system.
Readers are reminded that if anyone at MSNBC affiliated with the "Rachel Maddow Show" wanted to find out the truth about this prospective juror, the full PDF of these proceedings is public record. But I once again digress:
A. (By Mr. Staples) Also, the night that -- you probably heard a b o u t it -- t h e Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, the former leaders of the Chicago Black Panther Party or whatever, they were assassinated, and this was at the beh.est or the direction of the states attorney. This was the order that was given down from the states attorneys office. And of course the state attorney, Edward B. Hanrahan.’ And the morning that this occurred, I was,coming from what we call a gig, I was a musician, I played with a band. And I was jostled by the Chicago police, four members of the Chicago Police Department, and I was searched. There was no probable cause for that search. I was searched. My instrument was taken apart and so on, and I was kind of roughed up. And I didn’t know what had happened previous to this until I had gotten to school the next morning. And, like I said, that's another one of the reasons that's going to be part of my conviction is to having this feeling in regards the criminal justice system. Also --
Q. Mr. Staples, let me stop you there.
A. (By Mr. Staples) Okay.
Q. I think I get everything you're saying and I feel that it's fair to say you feel strongly about this?
A. (By Mr. Staples) I really do.
MR. O'CALLAGHAN: I appreciate it, sir. I'm not trying to cut you o f f . I think I understand where you're coming from.
THE J U R O R : (By Mr. Staples) Thank you.
MR. -0'CALLAGHAN: No further questions, Your Honor.
At this point, the prosecuting attorney had heard enough, and was obviously going to challenge this prospective juror after the defense finished its voir dire. As not one word about the Confederate flag in front of the courthouse had yet been raised by Staples, how could this have had anything to do with why he was dismissed?
Yet, as Maddow continued with her fact-challenged indictment Monday, she disgracefully said:
MADDOW: And Mr. Dorsey maintains that he is innocent of the crime for which he has been sentenced to die. He is challenging his conviction and sentence. Today, Felton Dorsey’s attorney from the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, his attorney, incidentally, is a white woman attorney who is from Caddo Parish, she argued at the Louisiana state Supreme Court in New Orleans today that Mr. Dorsey’s conviction should be overturned.
Carl Staples was struck off that jury explicitly because he objected to the Confederate flag flying outside that courtroom. And so, in the most highly incarcerated state of the most highly incarcerated country on earth, where 32 percent of Louisiana’s population is black but 70 percent of its prison population is black, do we accept that it is a prerequisite for serving on a jury that you do not object to doing so under the Confederate flag?
Louisiana Supreme Court started mulling that over today. I thought we stopped mulling over stuff like this 146 years ago this spring at Appomattox, but we will keep you posted on what they figure out in New Orleans.
Despite the prosecution's examination of Staples not resulting in one single word about the Confederate flag in front of that courthouse, Maddow had the gall to claim otherwise Monday night.
Moving forward, when defense attorney Alan Golden had his shot at Staples, the prospective juror was equally dismissive of our criminal justice system:
VOIR DIRE EXAMINATION BY MR. GOLDEN:
Q. Mr. Staples, despite our failings in the past and despite the errors that we made, can you think of any system of justice in the world that's better than ours?
A. (By Mr. Staples) No, I cannot.
Q. Who do you think makes our system work?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Well, the people.
Q. Who is the great leveler of the truth?
A. (By Mr. Staples) (No response.)
Q. What is the great leveler of all men; isn't it the jury system?
A. (By Mr. Staples) When it works, yes, it is. But still again, you ha've to realize that the jury system you still have the human element involved. We, as human beings, are governed by our emotions, and a lot of emotions are just inherent.
A. (By Mr. Staples) That say of love, hate, anger and happiness and so on, there's always going to be that variable there, that is going to affect the outcome, the total outcome of any decision that might be made by a so-called jur.y.
Q. Mr. S t a p l e s .
A. (BY Mr. Staples) Yes, sir.
Q. Do you believe that sometimes jurors make bad decisions?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Yes, they do.
Q. And as a result of those bad decisions, there are sometimes miscarriages of justice?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Yes.
Q. And sometimes those miscarriages result in wrongful convictions.
A. (By Mr. Staples) Um-hum.
Q. Wrongful sentences, right?
A. (By Mr. Staples) That's right.
Q. Sometimes wrongful acquittals of somebody who is really guilty.
A. (By Mr. Staples) That's right. It works both ways.
Q. And in order to make it better or more perfect takes good people, doesn't it?
A. (By Mr. Staples) It does.
Q. Are you a man of conviction?
A. (By Mr. Staples) I am a man of conviction, sir.
Q. You are a man who's not only seen but apparently experienced some wrongdoing?
A. (By Mr. Staples) I have lived through it. I didn't tell you about t h e shakedown by the police --
Q . That's okay, but I understand you went through a lot.
A. (By Mr. Staples) Yeah, it was quite a bit, v e r y traumatic.
Q. Let's say you were arrested for a crime right, right here, what kind of juror would you want to decide that case?
A. (By Mr. Staples) (No response.)
Q. Decide your case, your guilt or innocence?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Well, most of all, you would want an impartial juror, someone who is not going. to say l o o k at certain aspects of the character. I mean, the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you look, and so on, that's impartial.
Q. Somebody who is impartial?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Impartial.
Q. You would want someone who's objective?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Objective, yes.
Q. Someone who is articulate.
A. (By Mr. Staples) Yes.
Q. Somebody who is diligent in listening to the evidence and analyzing the evidence, right?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Yes, sir.
Q. Could you be such a person?
A. (By Mr. Staples) I don't think so, no.
Q. Why couldn't you be?
A. (By Mr. S t a p l e s ) I couldn't be objective. I couldn't be. The scars are too deep. The scars are too deep.
This also bears repeating: the prospective juror told defendant's counsel that he could not be "diligent in listening to the evidence and analyzing the evidence" and "couldn't be objective." That's ball game over for a prospective juror. The defense attorney probably would have stricken him for this.
Yet, despite Maddow's claim Monday, Staples had still not said one word about the Confederate flag in front of that courthouse. But he was about to when further pressed by the defense:
Q. S e e , here's what I am having a problem with.
A. (By Mr. Staples) Okay.
Q. Is that you'.re complaining about a system that you feel is sometimes unjust and yet, you understand what the basic flaws are that we have sometimes, and'yet because of your understanding, you would seem like the perfect juror who could help remedy that, but yet you are unwilling to put in that position to help make it better. Do you see the inconsistency?
A. (By Mr. ,Staples) Well, I guess you could say it's an inconsistency there, but I just don't buy into it. I don't. You speak of justice here in the'se, you call these halls of justice or the courthouse, this is the place where justice is administered and so on. I came to Shreveport in 1975. Okay. There was an issue some years back, I don't mean to get off the subject, but I guess it would be considered also in regards to say the law, in front of the courthouse, the Confederate flag flies., Okay. This a symbol of one of the most, to me, one of the most h e i n o u s crimes ever committed to another member of the human race, and I just don't see how you could say that, I mean, you're here for justice, and then again you overlook this great injustice by continuing to f l y this flag
which continues to say put salt in the wounds of say people of color, I don't buy it. I don't buy it. And it is not --
Q* Mr. Staples.
A. (By Mr. Staples) -- prejudice or anything like that, but it's just the idea.
Q. Mr. Staples.
A. (By Mr. Staples) It's contradicting. You are contradicting yourself.
So, finally, after almost ten pages of transcript, and having been examined by the prosecution and the defense, Staples brought up the Confederate flag.
Did this seem like his entire motive for not wanting to serve on that jury? Certainly not, for his experiences in Chicago decades before were what made him distrusting of our criminal justice system.
Interestingly, the defense attorney didn't buy into Staples' concern about the flag, and continued to press in order to find a juror that would be suitable to his team:
Q. We can't solve all the problems of the world.
A. (By Mr. Staples) No, we can't.
Q. But right now we have a specific case that's coming to trial for a very, very serious offense, and we are trying to make this the best system that we can. It takes conscientious people to do that. And what you have expressed are conscientious scruples about a variety of issues. So that tells me that you 'are conscientious person; am I right?
A. (By Mr. Staples) You are right.
Q. But yet you don't want to help make the system better by adding yourself, your conscientious self into the process as a conscientious decision-maker. You don't want to give us the b e n e f i t of your insights,.your objective way of looking at things.
A. (By Mr. Staples) No, I don't.
Q. You're saying you could not be fair and impartial?
A. (BY Mr. Staples) I could n o t be f a i r and impartial. Like I said, I don't embrace the system wholeheartedly. I'll abide by the laws. I will not break the laws and that's as f a r as I can go with i t . That's as f a r as I can go.
Q. You are unwilling to help US administer it, though; is that what you're saying?
A. (By Mr. Staples) Yes, that's the best I can do.
This also bears repeating: Staples said he couldn't be fair and impartial and was unwilling to help in this trial. As a result, the defense had heard enough:
M R . G O L D E N : T h a n k you. No further questions.
THE COURT: Anything further by the State?
MR. 0'CALLAGHA.N: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Thank you, Mr. Staples. You may return outside, and we will call you back shortly.
(Whereupon the prospective juror was excused from the courtroom.)
MR. O'CALLAGHAN: Your Honor, the State would move to excuse Mr. Staples for cause, his inability to be fair and impartial, his characterization that the scars of his past, adverse experiences with the criminal justice system are too deep for him to be a fair impartial juror or ever conceive of returning a guilty verdict in any case in a criminal justice system in this country. The State would respectfully submit that constitutes valid challenge for cause.
MR. GOLDEN: No objection.
THE COURT: So ordered.
(Whereupon the prospective juror was excused from the venire panel.)
Readers are advised the defense did not object to Staples being excused.
In summation, what Maddow presented to her viewers Monday evening was a farce and a sham. In any other industry, such negligence would meet with severe disciplinary action and/or termination.
Consider this segment from Maddow's report:
During the jury selection process, Mr. Staples restated his objection to the Confederate flag flying yards away. He told the courtroom that it was "a symbol of one of the most heinous crimes ever committed to another member of the human race and I just don’t see how you could say that. I mean, you’re here for justice and then again you overlook this great injustice by continuing to fly this flag."
The prosecutor in the case moved to strike Carl Staples from the jury, saying that based on those comments, he could not be fair in the case.
Absolute nonsense. Here's what O'Callaghan said after the defense attorney finished his voir dire:
Your Honor, the State would move to excuse Mr. Staples for cause, his inability to be fair and impartial, his characterization that the scars of his past, adverse experiences with the criminal justice system are too deep for him to be a fair impartial juror or ever conceive of returning a guilty verdict in any case in a criminal justice system in this country. The State would respectfully submit that constitutes valid challenge for cause.
He didn't say one single word about his strike being about Staples' comments concerning the Confederate flag. Not one.
As I said earlier, every prosecutor worth his salt in this country would have stricken this prospective juror as soon as he said he couldn't conceive of returning a guilty verdict in any case and couldn't be fair or objective. That Maddow and Company misrepresented this was gross negligence on their part.
But their media malpractice didn't end there for Maddow also said, "Carl Staples was taken off that jury specifically because of his stated objections to the Confederate flag flying outside the courthouse."
Hogwash. The moment the examination of Staples began, he was asking to be excused. This request went to both the defense and the prosecution.
Staples was taken off that jury because he said he couldn't return a guilty verdict on any case and could be neither objective nor impartial. Such statements would disqualify a prospective juror in every state in this nation. The transcript bears this out.
But Maddow and her crack research team clearly didn't bother reading the transcript. Apart from the previously referenced Journal piece, they instead relied on the amicus brief filed by the ACLU concerning Staples and the Dorsey case. Much as Maddow's segment Monday, it contained a history of Caddo Parish as well as background concerning the Confederate monument and flag in front of the courthouse in question.
Maybe in the future, Maddow and Company ought to do some research on their own for reports they're about to air rather than just mimicking documents filed by the ACLU.
Unfortunately, this appears far too much to ask from people associated with this abomination of a "news" network.