Gentrification has changed Brooklyn’s jury pool into well-off and educated white people who are pro-prosecution in criminal cases and pro-defendant in civil lawsuits, a newspaper reports.
That was the conclusion reached in a New York Post article written by Josh Saul titled When Brooklyn Juries Gentrify, Defendants Lose.
“These jurors aren’t pro-plaintiff anymore”
Brooklyn rent rates have jumped 77 percent from 2000-2012, according to a recent city comptroller’s office report, the article says. The percentage of white people living in the borough has risen with the rent, from 41 percent to 50, according to U.S. Census data, the article says.
Due to the gentrification of Brooklyn, people familiar with police brutality can’t afford to live there anymore, the article states.
“People who can afford to live in Brooklyn now don’t have the experience of police officers throwing them against cars and searching them. A person who just moves here from Wisconsin or Wyoming, they can’t relate to (that). It doesn’t sound credible to them,” said high-profile lawyer Arthur Aidala, according to the article
“The grand jury used to have an anti-police sentiment. When I was a prosecutor 22 years ago, a jury would be 80 percent people of color,” he added.
Additionally, “The Williamsburg Effect” – gentrification’s effect on the neighborhood’s population makeup – has produced more pro-defendant civil juries.
“These jurors aren’t pro-plaintiff anymore,” said plaintiff lawyer Charen Kim, according to the article.
“There were very few minorities on the jury. It was a real white-bread jury. It’s a whole different ball game,” said plaintiffs’ lawyer Edmond Chakmakian about a case he settled just before the verdict for damages was announced. He feared the Williamsburg Effect would taint the jury, and settled his case. He settled for $6 million and later found out the white jury was only going to give his client $2 million, according to the article.
“The juror pool is getting more cosmopolitan here in Brooklyn. There’s more of a blend across all socioeconomic strata,” said Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Vincent Del Guidice.