39-year-old Melvin Griffin was convicted of first and third degree criminal sexual assault in Olmsted County in 2012.
That was because he is said to have forcibly raped a woman when they were both in a sober house.
But he challenged the fact that African Americans were underrepresented in the jury pool. Although the district court deemed that unacceptable, they denied the challenge.
“We [Olmsted County Attorney’s Office] had nothing to do with the selection process, but the selection process that’s incorporated here is the same process that’s used throughout the state and nothing has changed based on this particular order,” said Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem.
Griffin also took his conviction to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and they too said the conviction stands.
“Based on everything we know, we seem to be doing pretty good. You’re never going to hit it exact to the tenth of a percent or anything like that, so there’s got to be some sort of a statistical range,” Ostrem said.
He said Olmsted County is largely Caucasian, so this problem does come up every now and then.