Tag Archives: Joan Weber

Judge scolds prosecutors for dismissing gay juror

A San Diego judge dismissed an entire jury panel on May 1, after prosecutors rejected a gay man as a potential juror in a same-sex marriage case.

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber ruled defendants in the case were denied a representative jury and called the actions of the city attorney’s office “shocking,” U-T San Diego reported.

Her ruling means the lawyers will have to pick a new panel if the case goes to trial.

The case stems from the Aug. 19, 2010, arrest of nine people who were protesting Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban, at the county clerk’s office. Defense attorneys say the peaceful protest did not disrupt business.

Prosecutors said in court that the potential juror indicated he had protested in support of gay rights issues in the past, so they deemed him an unsuitable juror for the case.

Outside the courtroom on May 1, assistant City Attorney Andrew Jones said that the case is only about whether defendants unlawfully blocked the operation of the county clerk’s office.

“It has nothing to do with same-sex marriage,” Jones said.

Attorneys for the accused activists disagreed, saying prosecutors systematically excluded gay people from the jury.

“There has been a fundamental violation of a constitutional right to a jury trial by my client’s peers,” said Todd Moore, an attorney representing one of the defendants.

Six defendants still face charges in the case. The other three accepted a deal last year to plead no contest to an infraction and had their cases dismissed in exchange for eight hours of volunteer work.

The judge urged the prosecutors to reduce the charges to infractions for the remaining defendants.

“I’ve never had so many jurors express concerns about why a prosecutor’s office would move forward and spend time and money on a case of this nature,” Weber told U-T San Diego.

The city attorney’s office said if the defense proposes it, they would be willing to try the case without a jury on infractions rather than misdemeanors.

Proposition 8 was later ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. The decision is under appeal.

Download a PDF of the current issue of Wisconsin Gazette and join our Facebook community.

Judge says dismissal of gay juror violated defendants’ rights

A San Diego judge ruled Tuesday that prosecutors in a gay rights case violated the defendants’ rights when they dismissed a potential juror because he’s gay.

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber said defendants in the case, which involved a same-sex marriage protest, were denied a representative jury. Weber called the city attorney office’s actions “shocking” and dismissed the entire jury panel selected for the case, reported UT San Diego.

The case stems from the arrest of nine people for protesting at the city clerk’s office over Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban. The protesters had demanded marriage licenses.

Prosecutors said that the potential juror was unsuitable because he’d protested in support of gay rights issues in the past.

But attorneys for the accused activists said prosecutors systematically excluded gay people from the jury, violating their client’s right to a jury of peers. They objected after the prosecution challenged the selection of two potential jurors, both of whom had identified themselves as gay.

“There has been a fundamental violation of a constitutional right to a jury trial by my client’s peers,” said Todd Moore, who represents one of the defendants.

Weber’s ruling means that prosecutors now have to pick a new jury. But she urged the prosecution to consider reducing the charges to infractions.

“I’ve never had so many jurors express concerns about why a prosecutor’s office would move forward and spend time and money on a case of this nature,” Weber said.