See the full video and transcript of the Texas After Violence Project Interview with civil rights lawyer Larry Daves on the Human Rights and Documentation Initiative (HRDI) of the University of Texas at Austin Libraries
Interview copyright Larry Daves and Texas After Violence Project, 2008.
RAYMOND: I’m really struck by, when you talked about the Davis case, the fact that there was this deep racism and—but—coexisting with— you recognized it, and yet you looked for the honest people [on the jury] who were willing to recognize the extent of it within themselves.
LARRY DAVES: There always will be people like that, I think.
RAYMOND: Did you talk to any of those jurors? Afterwards?
LARRY DAVES: No, I didn’t and I’m not to sure why. I rarely did talk to jurors after any case. Some lawyers just do it as a practice and I had— I felt like they did their thing and I did my thing. And I’m just unusual as an attorney. Some attorneys really want to go back and see what did work and what didn’t.
I have a lot of respect for the jury system, and I have a lot of respect for jurors. I really feel like the jury system is one place where normal people really get to be super human beings and they really normally turn out to be super human beings. And there is a chemistry that goes on in a lot of jury trials and people a lot of— most times in the cases I was involved with, and I was involved in hundred of them— it seems to elevate humans to a somewhat higher standard than what we normally see in the everyday world. People take it seriously. They feel like they are in fact are judges.
They are—this is their—many of these people have said this time and time again in the jury trials:
You may have chosen not to run for city council, you may have chosen not to be a state representative, but the people who founded this country were determined that you be the one that finally makes the ultimate decisions as to what kind of a civil justice system we have here in this country and whether or not we’re going to provide equality of law and fundamental fair due process.
If I’ve said that once I’ve said that a hundred time in those cases. And they do. I really agree. Okay.