By Motecuzoma Sanchez
April 13, 2017
San Joaquin, CA- After the two week trial for former Manteca school board member Ashley Drain ended today jurors were sent to deliberation on charges that she purposely filed false candidate statements in the election that put her on the school board back in 2014. Juror #7 had been selected in the jury pool and sat through the trial for those two weeks. She was the only African American juror amongst an otherwis all white jury. The defendant is also African American.
Juror #7, better known to the community as San Joaquin Delta College Trustee C. Jennet Stebbins in an exclusive interview with 209 Times says no less than five minutes after closing statements jurors were introducing themselves during the beginning of deliberation and before they were even completed, saying they were voting GUILTY. “It seemed to me they were already set on voting guilty even though we hadn’t had the chance to deliberate over the evidence yet”, she says.
“We took a vote and it was 11-1. I voted ‘not guilty on all charges’ and they told me I had to vote ‘guilty’. When I refused to change my vote the foreman accused me of being racially biased and went to tell the judge that I was being ‘uncooperative’ and ‘biased’, but I heard things in the trial that to me didn’t seem right”, says Stebbins.
She says some of the things during the trial that caused her concern besides being the only Black juror, were question asked to the defendant like if she voted for Trump for president by deputy district attorney Stephen Maier. Even though a decision of 11-1 was already reached she felt some jurors were in concert with the prosecutor and that anything other than a 12-0 guilty vote would not be allowed.
This is not the first time District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar’s office had to deal with controversy regarding racial bias. Last year pictures were leaked showing her staff mocking Black Lives Matter activists while simulating cocaine use during an office party on the clock. Verber-Salazar would apologize for that and supposedly take corrective action.
Stebbins would be removed as juror #7 and an alternate was called in. Without having to wait for the official announcement she already knows what the verdict will be. It wasn’t allowed any other way.