An Iowa judge has dismissed a 112 person jury pool (venire) because it lacked sufficient diversity. In this case, an African-American defendant is on trial for killing his white girlfriend. Of the 112 potential jurors summoned, 111 identified as white, while 1 identified as Native American. In the county (Webster) in which this case is being prosecuted, African-Americans make-up approximately 5% of the population. Interestingly, the case had been transferred to Webster County from Worth County in the hopes of obtaining a more diverse jury.
According to the judge who dismissed the pool, "the system is broken in Webster County and this court needs to fix it for Mr. Washington's rights to be upheld." The attorney for the defendant has suggested that the court use alternative methods of selecting jurors to include pulling names from local utility company billing records and examining lists of persons receiving unemployment benefits or disability payments.