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Jury Selection Process

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Jury Selection Process Paper
David L. Clay
CJS/211
August 10, 2015
Johnny Cotton

Jury Selection Process Paper

In this paper we will discuss what the author in The Color of Justice: Race Ethnicity, and Crime in America refers to as the disparity “in the jury selection process”. In this paper we will address the processes and cases that have helped control the systematic discrimination of the court process, how the jury nullification is used in relation to diversity, as well as discussing the use of peremptory challenges to jury selection and the impact on the jury composition. In order to fully discuss these issues you must first know the definition of disparity. Disparity is defined as inequality were things are different or not equal. The disparity that is explained by the author is in reference to how African American and Mexican Americans were excluded from the process of jury selection but was found to be protected according to the Equal protection Clause in the 14th Amendment. It states that they cannot be prohibited from serving on a jury. In the beginning jury selection was geared toward white males only. The process of jury selection is usually compiled from two major sources of voter registration cards and driver’s license. One case that represents the control of the systematic discrimination is the case of the Scottsboro boys. Nine African American boys were accused of raping two white girls on a train. The boys were convicted of a capital offense. In the first trial case there was no counsel to represent the accused. Eight of the accused was sentenced to death. They appealed and the Supreme Court reversed the decision citing that due process was by law not afforded to them. Later they were retried after a brief reprieve were in they were convicted a second time. Appeal was made citing that all the jurors were white, it was found that black jurors were not even placed in a pool for selection. Ultimately the state eight months later comprised a jury of 13 whites and 1 African American. The conviction was up heled and the prosecutor used the peremptory challenge to achieve the jury selection. Jury nullification in reference to diversity suggest that racially biased jury nullification that African American were less likely to convict one of their own even though the evidence against them was present. Rooted in English law were jurors believe that the evidence in the trial proceedings clearly convicts the defendant but the juror chooses to acquit rather than to convict. Circumstance that would be mitigating could be the cause of this acquittal. Punishment for the crime could be too harsh or crimes that are committed in the protection and the safety of children and family members. Jurors clearly have the power to nullify the law and to vote their conscience. Juries who acquit the double jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment bans reversal of their decision. Even though that evidence may be staggering against the defendant the decision of the jury is final. The peremptory challenge that prosecutors and defense use is the subject of controversy and seemed by some as being racially discriminating. It has been studied that substantial evidence has been presented that suggest that challenges issued in Louisiana 1976-1981 there was found that prosecutors eliminated African American jurors lopsided disproportioned to whites. According to Turner, Lovell, Young, and Denny it was also found that minorities make up most of the jurisdictions therefore the exclusion of black prospective jurors is accomplished a lot more easily than those of their Caucasian counter parts. In as much as our justice system is founded on blind justice, it is this blind justice that comes into play when seeing the disparity in the jury selection process. Seemingly there is a conscience for equality however there are tools such as the peremptory challenge that make this type of justice null and void.
Reference
Spohn, C., Walker, S., & Delone, M. (2012). The Color Of Justice, Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

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