A recent L.A. Times story picked up a preliminary report from U.C. Berkeley on who gets excluded from juries during voir dire in California. Here’s a quick summary:
The report examined, among other things, nearly 700 cases decided by the state’s Courts of Appeal from 2006 through 2018 that involved appeals of prosecutors’ jury strikes.
In about 72% of the cases, prosecutors used their peremptory challenges to remove Black prospective jurors, the study found. Prosecutors struck Latinos in about 28% of the cases, Asian Americans in less than 3.5% and white people in only 0.5%.
The full report is available from the Berkeley Law Death Penalty Clinic.
Our Jury and Democracy Project points to another indirect harm these biases cause. We found that deliberating on juries boosts civic engagement (e.g., future voting rates), so the exclusion of particular social groups from that civic educational experience also quiets their collective voice on Election Day. Writing for the majority in Powers, Justice Kennedy made precisely this claim when citing Tocqueville. We used modern “big data” social science to show that Kennedy/Tocqueville were basically right.