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With an eye toward the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, two-thirds of America’s potential jurors say they favor broader surveillance powers for law enforcement agencies and the occasional use of racial profiling by police. The findings, part of The National Law Journal‘s fourth annual Juror Outlook Survey, confirm public support for new powers gained by the U.S. Department of Justice following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. The poll was conducted by DecisionQuest, a national jury consulting firm. “When people have to face the reality that there are people on this planet who will kill so brutally and cold-bloodedly, they take stock of one of the most absolute things they expect from government, which is public safety,” says Kevin P. Meenan, district attorney in Casper, Wyo., and president of the National District Attorneys Association. Some 67 percent of those polled say they favor increased wiretap and Internet surveillance powers. Support on the issue broke down by age group, with 54 percent of potential jurors older than 65 supporting broader powers as compared to only 24 percent support among jurors between the ages of 18 and 24. The poll results also pointed to a general pro-law enforcement shift among potential jurors in criminal matters. The telephone poll, which had a margin of error of three percentage points, was conducted between Oct. 15 and Oct. 29. It involved 1,007 randomly selected adults eligible for jury service. The sampling was spread evenly among geographic regions and by gender. ‘PROFILING’ OK Additionally, in light of the Sept. 11 attacks, which federal authorities have alleged were conducted exclusively by men of Middle Eastern descent, 59 percent of those polled say that racial profiling is acceptable in some circumstances. “The follow-polling on that would be fascinating,” says Irwin H. Schwartz, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “I’m sure it amounts to being in favor of racial profiling as long as it’s the other guy you are profiling.” But Meenan says the public is merely adjusting to the reality that racial profiling is necessary to law enforcement. “I think people are realizing that the old racial profiling debate no longer applies when you are dealing with foreign nationals of Middle Eastern descent,” he says. The attacks also affected juror views on capital punishment, which has come under increased scrutiny in recent years due to scores of wrongful capital convictions. In this year’s poll, 16 percent of those surveyed say the Sept. 11 attacks have left them more supportive of capital punishment. Says Richard Dieter, executive director of Washington, D.C.’s Death Penalty Information Center, “I think the trend against capital punishment will continue, but I think there is a pause now as people’s attention is focused elsewhere.” CHANGES IN ATTITUDE Previous juror surveys have shown that Americans were becoming more distrustful of police testimony at trial following scandals involving brutality and corruption in California, New Jersey and New York. Those trends, especially among older potential jurors, seem to have slowed as a result of the events of Sept. 11. Of all potential jurors polled, 38 percent responded that they would be more likely to trust the testimony of a police officer at trial than that of another witness. “I think it’s a correction,” says Meenan. “They’ve seen happily the reality, which is that 99.9 percent of the time they are being well served.” Approximately 34 percent of those polled agreed that if a defendant declines to testify at trial, it means he or she has something to hide. This is two percentage points less than in 2000, but still a full 16 points lower than in 1999, when half of all potential jurors polled thought that a defendant who didn’t testify at his own trial was hiding something. While 34 percent of jurors over the age of 65 say that law enforcement is fair in investigating drug crimes, only 20 percent of those between 18 and 24 agreed, following a trend toward a generational split on law enforcement credibility. Approximately 32 percent of those polled agreed that a higher proportion of blacks are charged and sentenced for drug crimes than whites. Additionally, 43 percent of the respondents say that some drugs should be legalized to save money currently spent on drug interdiction efforts. Geographically, those who showed the strongest agreement with this sentiment live in New England and the East South Central United States, while those who disagreed lived in the Midwest and Mountain regions. CHANGE IN VOIR DIRE? Schwartz, a private practitioner in Seattle, says the aftermath of Sept. 11 may cause criminal defense lawyers to change the way they conduct jury selection. Although he declines to say that lawyers should ask direct voir dire questions about Sept. 11, Schwartz says that a more roundabout approach might be warranted — at least in the short term. “Might they ask more sophisticated questions that could probe those questions?” he says. “That would be up to the individual lawyer.” And while 55 percent responded that they trust law enforcement to be fair in dealing with drug crimes, the FBI was deemed less trustworthy than law enforcement agencies in general. Only 48 percent of those polled disagreed with the statement that the FBI has made too many mistakes to be considered trustworthy. “The oddity is that before Sept. 11, in the aftermath of Abner Louima and Rampart, jurors were beginning to realize that although there are many good cops, there are also many bad cops,” says Schwartz. “In the tide of emotion that has come after Sept. 11, that has receded from people’s recollection.” Dieter agrees. “People see the events of Sept. 11 as distinct from ordinary crime,” he says. “I don’t think people want African-Americans racially profiled or due process lessened for ordinary crimes.” OTHER FINDINGS The survey also found that: � More than 63 percent of those polled had been called for jury duty, and 24 percent had actually served. � Of those who served as jurors, 88 percent deliberated to a verdict. � When asked who is most to blame for allowing the Sept. 11 hijackings to occur, 32 percent of potential jurors responded that airport security companies were most culpable, followed by 23 percent who blamed the CIA and FBI and 7 percent who blamed the Federal Aviation Administration. � Some 36 percent of those polled say they would fear for their safety if they were called to serve on a jury in a federal courthouse. Related Charts: Snapshot of Jurors’ Views

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