Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens has recently filed a lawsuit against the state’s Judicial Conduct Commission. The lawsuit is in response to a notice that the commission is planning to take action against Judge Stevens for his acts on the bench. Judge Stevens is also asking a federal court to prevent the Judicial Conduct Commission from taking any actions against him.
Judge Stevens has been very vocal in recent months about his perceived lack of diversity in juries within the county. He has even gone so far as to dismiss juries based on their racial diversity on more than one occasion.
Last month, the state Court of Appeals ruled that a judge does not have the authority to dismiss a jury based solely on its racial make-up. They also ruled that the law for jury selection does not mean that final jury panel is an accurate representation of the community’s diversity , just that the selection pool of potential jurors is a cross-section that is representative of the community.