Legal adviser blasts jury selection

Oct. 7, 2011 at 3:07 PM
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DETROIT, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The legal adviser for the alleged "underwear bomber" criticized the racial makeup of the Detroit jury for his client's trial, which is to start next week.

The jury for the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, consists of eight white women, four white men, three African-American women and one Indian woman, The Detroit News reported.

A woman from Nigeria was dismissed from the jury by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds and an African-American man was removed after he arrived to court 90 minutes late.

Abdulmutallab, who is acting as his own attorney, questioned only one juror.

"Obviously I am not pleased," Abdulmutallab's court-appointed legal adviser, Detroit lawyer Anthony Chambers said Thursday. "By appearance, it does not represent the community. We are always concerned about how foreign countries treat our citizens when they have a legal problem. Certainly we should be aware of that here."

Wayne State University law Professor Peter Henning told the News there is no constitutional mandate that a jury must reflect the community.

"It is required that the overall pool from which jurors are selected has to be reflective of the complete community and the division from which this court draws jurors runs from Livingston through Macomb counties south to Monroe," Henning said. "This jury actually probably has more minority representation than is proportional."

Abdulmutallab is accused of attempting to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it prepared to land at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, carrying 300 passengers on Christmas Day, 2009. Authorities say Abdulmutallab hid powerful explosives in his underwear.

Abdulmutallab is charged with attempted murder, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy to commit terrorism. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

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