Juries not as racially diverse as the communities from which they are drawn

Dec 03, 2008

A new review of the literature in the journal Social Issues and Policy Review examines obstacles that prevent diversity on juries and the implications this has on jury performance. Results reveal that there are a wide range of factors that conspire to prevent juries from being as racially diverse as the communities they represent.

Samuel R. Sommers, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychology at Tufts University shows how racial bias in the legal system is not an outdated or obsolete concern, and race still influences many processes.

In his article, Sommers notes how a county in the U.S. has a sizeable number of African-American citizens. Across various trials, not a single jury had enough black jurors to indicate a jury composition representative of the more general racial demographics. The facts describe Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, just prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Various reasons exist why juries are often less diverse than the surrounding communities. Members of racial minority groups are often relatively underrepresented when it comes to driver's licenses and voter registration, both of which are lists often used to select people for jury duty.

Even when a diverse group of people shows up for jury duty, lawyers often consider race in deciding whom to challenge during jury selection. Prosecutors are often inclined to remove minority jurors from the panel because of expectations that such individuals are less likely to vote guilty in a case, even though the U.S. Supreme Court prohibits them from excluding jurors based on race.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Schwarzenegger pushes Congress to save after-school funding

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Closing salvos in Silicon Valley sex bias case

Mar 25, 2015

Rival attorneys launched closing salvos Tuesday at jurors who will decide whether a renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm was a "boys club" that discriminated against women.

Planets can alter each other's climates over eons

Feb 20, 2015

A new study sheds light on how exoplanets in tightly-packed solar systems interact with each other gravitationally by affecting one another's climates and their abilities to support alien life.

By large margins, citizens dislike gerrymandering

Jul 01, 2014

By large margins, Virginians don't like the idea of politicians creating their own legislative districts. The once-a-decade exercise known as redistricting, which next rolls around in 2021, is a powerful tool for lawmakers ...

Astro-virology

Nov 29, 2013

In HG Wells' 'The War of the Worlds', the invading Martians were beaten by that most unassuming of combatants – the common cold. Could the reverse happen and alien viruses pose a threat to human astronauts ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.