Alameda County juror bias case begins

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Former Alameda County prosecutor John Quatman began testimony Tuesday, March 22, in San Jose Superior Court following his claim last year that he colluded with a Jewish judge to keep Jews off a death penalty jury.

Quatman, now in private practice in Montana, alleged that deceased Judge Stanley Golde chided him for considering Jews for the 1987 jury of since-convicted murderer Fred Freeman. The former prosecutor further alleged that it was standard practice in Alameda County to exclude Jews and black women from capital juries.

His testimony came up at an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Freeman, currently on death row, may be granted a new trial.

Quatman’s allegations are vigorously disputed by the Alameda County District Attorney’s office. During Tuesday’s proceedings, George Williamson, who represented the California attorney general’s office, attempted to paint Quatman as ethically challenged, even forcing him to read notes he’d taken during the ’87 trial on the physical appearance of female jurors.

Quatman claimed he waited years to make his allegations against Golde, a former congregant of Oakland’s Temple Sinai, because accusations against the respected judge would have ruined the prosecutor’s career.