Prosecutor denies using race to keep Natives off jury

The deputy district attorney in Humboldt County, California, is still denying he was motivated by race when he moved to remove Native Americans from a murder trial in 1992.

Worth Dikeman said he kept at least four Natives off the jury "because I thought they would be bad jurors in that particular case." A Native man was on trial for the murder of his former wife.

But in a 6-5 decision, the 9th Circuit disagreed. The judges quoted extensively from court documents that showed Dikeman was fixated on the race of Native jurors and even those whom he perceived to be Native.

One judge wrote that Dikeman based his removals on "blatant racial and cultural stereotypes" and another judge said he showed "contempt for and stark prejudice against Native Americans" in his handling of the case.

Leonard Bowman, the chairman of the Rohnerville Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria,s said he was pleased by the decision. "This was my goal and hopefully this case will turn that kind of situation around," he told The Eureka Times-Standard.

Dikeman recently ran for district attorney but lost. Two Native women staged protests against him, citing his actions in the murder case.

Humboldt County is 5.7 percent Native American.

Get the Story:
Court reverses case prosecuted by Dikeman (The Eureka Times-Standard 9/13)
9th Circuit Finds Racial Motives in Juror Dismissals (The Recorder 9/13)
Court rules in Dikeman's 1992 dismissal of jurors (The Eureka Reporter 9/12)
Court Tosses Convictions, Says Indians Wrongly Kept Off Jury (The Metropolitan News-Enterprise 9/12)

Get the Decision:
Kessert v. Cambra (September 11, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Worth Dikeman -

Related Stories:
9th Circuit blasts removal of Natives from jury pool (9/12)
Native women oppose district attorney candidate (05/23)