Winston-Salem, NC -- The selection of an all-white jury in the murder trial of 25 year-old Keith Carter, who is charged with the death of former Winston-Salem Police Sgt. Howard Plouff, has raised some questions and concerns from people commenting on digtriad.com.
Elon Law Professor Steve Friedland spoke with WFMY News 2 about the legal backgound of jury selections.
"The jury really is a democratic tool. They give the voice as to whether someone is guilty or not guilty," said Friedland.
Friedland pointed out the phrase "tried by a jury of one's peers" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. He said, "The 6th amendment requires an impartial jury and that's what the court looks at - can the person be fair?"
Friedland said potential jurors can't be discriminated against based on several factors, including race. Anyone who admits knowledge of the case or says they can't be impartial, will be dismissed.
Carter's mother recently told reporters potential black jurors in her son's trial excused themselves during jury selection, claiming they would not be impartial.
Various people in downtown Winston-Salem Thursday night had mixed reactions about the trial.
"They're going to be very careful and they're all Americans, they're all citizens of the United States," said Marie LeCompte.
"I havent heard of an all-white jury in a long time," said one man.
Derek Guirand said, "If they've done their due diligence and properly chosen the jury, then I think he can have a fair trial."
Another man said, "I don't feel that anyone should be put in that situation where they're the only race."