The Champion

July 2009 , Page 26 

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Batson, Empowerment And New Jury Models: The case for 'Open Inquiry'

By Patrick Brayer

The recommended practice technique is the use of “open inquiry,” which encourages attorneys and courts to ask jurors to openly identify their race, gender, and ethnicity during voir dire for purposes of appellate review under Batson v. Kentucky and related holdings.1 An open inquiry helps protect the rights of all jurors to sit. It thus creates a greater chance that juries are more diverse and promotes more voices and experiences during deliberation. The open inquiry method also promotes individual juror participation and increases the group’s receptiveness toward individual voices during deliberations. Most importantly, open inquiry forces practitioners to rethink how they approach juries; become less fearful of broaching sensitive issues of race, gender, and ethnicity; and reach out to the potential lone voices that may have insights that could benefit their clients.

This article is written from the perspective of a criminal defense attorney. Personal observations and commentary are i

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