Michigan Supreme Court rejects claim jury was not impartial in Kent County rape case

Jun 28, 2012

The Michigan Supreme Court has reinstated the conviction of a Kent County man who claimed he was denied a fair trial because of the racial makeup of his jury.  



Ramon Bryant was convicted of rape and armed robbery in 2002.  The African American man was 16 years old at the time of the crime.

Bryant’s attorney complained that only one of 45 prospective jurors for his trial was African-American.     A computer glitch had limited the prospective jury pool to zip codes with predominately white residents.    

The Michigan Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Bryant, finding that such a small African-American representation violated the Sixth Amendment guarantee of trial by an impartial jury.

But the Michigan Supreme Court reversed that ruling this week.     The high court concluded that Bryant did not demonstrate that the jury’s racial makeup violated his right to a fair trial.

The Supreme Court reinstated Bryant’s 12 to 35 year sentence.     He will be eligible for parole next year.