Jesse Jackson's Odd Complaint: Trayvon Martin Denied Jury of His Peers

July 14th, 2013 8:13 AM

Appearing on MSNBC this morning, Jesse Jackson condemned the Zimmerman verdict as a "tremendous miscarriage of justice."  It is a mark of Jackson's misconception of just what constitutes justice that chief among his complaints was that Trayvon Martin was denied a jury of his peers because there were no African-Americans or men on it.

But—as Jackson is apparently unaware—the Constitution provides that it is the accused, not the possible victim, who is entitled to an impartial jury [in fact the Constitution nowhere speaks of a jury of peers]. View the video after the jump.

Note that Jackson also claimed that Zimmerman was "at least guilty of murder."  At least? Of what more serious crime would Jackson have had Zimmerman convicted?

Note: Jackson isn't the only person appearing on MSNBC to make the same mistake.  More shockingly, perhaps, Joe Scarborough—a Florida lawyer—recently claimed that the absence of African-American jurors would make the verdict subject to immediate appeal, thereby evidencing a misunderstanding of both the right to an impartial jury and of the rule against double jeopardy.

MSNBC: First question, obviously: what was your reaction to this verdict?

JESSE JACKSON: Frankly, I am stunned over this race [?], this tremendous miscarriage of justice. When the jury says not guilty: he's at least guilty of murder. An armed man, racially pursuing and profiling a young African-American boy, and kills him. And in this case, the prosecutor denied, should I say ignored the matter of race, and the defense denied this. But the fact of the matter is this is a pattern of behavior toward young African-American men, whether it is Grant in Oakland, or Diallo in New York or Trayvon Martin in Florida, and it's very painful.   

MSNBC: Reverend, I want to ask you about the make-up of the jury.  You tweeted this after the verdict was handed down, you tweeted: "The jury, no black and no men, was always suspect." Do you feel this affected the outcome: the make-up of the jury?

JACKSON: Well, it was a stretch, trying to avoid the obvious. There was no--you speak of jury of your peers: there was no man on the jury—Trayvon was a black boy—there was no man, no black on the jury. So at least the idea of jury of your peers was a stretch all the while.