The increasing gentrification of Brooklyn neighborhoods is transforming court cases in Kings County. The influx of rich, white people has changed the economic and racial make up of juries. The percentage of white people in Brooklyn grew from 41 percent to 50 percent between 2000 and 2015
This is good news for prosecutors and bad news for plaintiffs in civil cases.
The NY Post quotes criminal defense lawyer, Julie Clark as saying, “The jurors are becoming more like Manhattan — which is not good for defendants.” She added “They are . . . much more trusting of police,’’ Clark said of the jurors. “I’m not sure people from the University of Vermont would believe that a police officer would [plant] a gun.’’
They also quote “high-profile” lawyer Arthur Aidala. “The grand jury used to have an anti-police sentiment. When I was a prosecutor 22 years ago, a jury would be 80 percent people of color. “Now, the grand juries have more law-and-order types in there.
Brooklyn prosecutor turned defense lawyer, John Paul DeVerna says that the effect touches every case
“A contrarian-minded person — and Billyburg has them; sophisticated Brooklyn juries require sophisticated Brooklyn trial attorneys. Lawyers can’t assume they can pull the wool over juries eyes with weak cases. From the first day we meet our clients, their cases are investigated and prepared thoroughly with the belief that the case will be presented to a trial jury. in spades — can cause discord in the jury room. And if the hipster gets along with everyone, that can even be more dangerous because they are confident and educated, which means they have the potential to hijack the jury.”
On the civil side, attorneys say juries have become more pro-defendant. Since the juries have become more white and affluent, they are less likely to side with plaintiffs
“There’s an influx of money, and when everything gets gentrified, these jurors aren’t pro-plaintiff anymore. We’re dealing with more sophisticated people, and they don’t believe [plaintiffs] should be awarded millions of dollars for nothing.”–Plaintiff lawyer Charen Kim.