Research has shown that diverse juries do their job better. Racially diverse juries deliberate longer, get more facts correct, rectify more errors, are more willing to discuss issues of race, and consider a broader range of evidence. In short, they get it right more often. In addition, public confidence in the accuracy, fairness, and legitimacy of a jury’s decision increases substantially when the jury that rendered the verdict reflects the community it is supposed to be representing.
However, across the country our nation’s juries fail to represent the racial, ethnic, experiential, and socio-economic diversity of the communities from which they are drawn. While a variety of factors contribute to these disparities, one of the most impactful is the exclusion of those with prior criminal convictions. According to Prison Policy Initiative, laws that exclude individuals with a criminal record from serving on a jury bar more than 20 million individuals from jury service.
The recognition of the benefits of diverse juries has spurred some states to take proactive steps, revisiting policies that disenfranchise people with felony convictions and prohibit them from serving on juries. But what happens when the policy shift is met with deficient implementation practices? On Thursday, April 27th, 2023, NACDL hosted, “Systemic Juror Exclusion: How States Continue to Disenfranchise Prospective Jurors Through Improper Policy Implementation.” In this webinar, featuring Professor James Binnall and Attorney Will Snowden, learn how California and Louisiana have made such changes, but may be continuing to exclude people with felony convictions because of deficient summonses as well as failure to notify prospective jurors of their eligibility.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)