Three men accused of plotting to bomb a western Kansas mosque say their rights are being violated by the exclusion of jurors from more politically conservative areas.
Attorney for the three men say in documents filed in federal court in Wichita that the jury selection procedure is discriminatory and “excludes rural and conservative jurors.”
According to a motion filed by attorneys for defendant Curtis Wayne Allen, and joined by his co-defendants, Patrick Eugene Stein and Gavin Wayne Wright, jurors in their case will be picked from registered voters from Wichita and surrounding areas, and not from western Kansas.
The three men are charged with conspiring to target Somali immigrants living in Garden City, Kan.
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When they announced the charges, officials alleged that Allen, Stein and Wright hoped to create a “bloodbath” by detonating vehicles laden with bombs the day after the Nov. 8 election.
Voters in those areas of western Kansas are more likely to have conservative political views and are more likely to have supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election, according to the defense motion.
“This case is uniquely political because much of the anticipated evidence will center around, and was in reaction to, the 2016 presidential election,” according to the defense motion.
The defense motion says that the political ideologies of liberal and conservative voters tend to tend to differ “regarding the appropriate size and power of the federal government and the individual rights of its citizens.”
“Additionally, this case will require the jury to evaluate and weigh evidence regarding whether the alleged conduct constitutes the crimes charged or whether it was constitutionality protected speech, assembly and petition, and/or the right to bear arms,” according to the motion.
By including jurors from those more western areas, the court will ensure that the defendants will have the right to jurors that represent a “fair cross-section of the community,” and ensure that residents of those areas “are afforded the civil right to serve as jurors.”