Chuck Turner: Probe ‘Riddled With Racism’

Laurel J. Sweet, Boston Herald, September 23, 2010

With less than three weeks until his federal corruption trial starts, City Councilor Chuck Turner claims in newly filed court documents he’s the victim of a government probe “riddled with racism” and wants to avoid jurors bringing their baggage of biases to the table.

Turner’s lawyers are seeking U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock’s OK to pepper prospective jurors with a dozen prejudice-specific questions, including:

* “Do you believe that people of color are more likely to commit crimes than whites?”

* “Would you believe the testimony of a white person over that of a black person simply because of the color of their skin?”

* “If people of color moved into your neighborhood, would you be more afraid of crime than you are now?”

{snip}

“It’s important to ferret out any potential bias a juror might have in order to have a fair trial. You need to ask questions that are going to get you honest responses from jurors,” he [Hub attorney William Korman] said.

In his six-page pretrial memorandum filed Tuesday, Turner, 70, put Woodlock on notice he intends “to show that the investigation in this case was riddled with racism and discriminatory conduct on the part of the government.”

{snip}

Turner, who goes on trial Oct. 12, is charged with attempted extortion and making false statements for allegedly pocketing a $1,000 bribe from a government informant who sought his help obtaining a liquor license for a nightclub. {snip}

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