Suing to protect jurors’ right to serve

This lawsuit is a great example of advocacy for the rights of citizens to be considered for jury service. In an article for The Appeal, Kira Lerner explained:

Mississippi District Attorney Doug Evans was hit with a proposed class action lawsuit today on behalf of every Black person eligible to serve on a jury in his district….The lawsuit, filed by attorneys with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, claims that since Evans became lead prosecutor for Mississippi’s Fifth Circuit Court District in 1992, he and his assistants have struck prospective Black jurors 4.4 times more frequently than white jurors, “a rate that is unparalleled in any available study.”

As we showed in The Jury and Democracy, deliberating on juries can boost long-term voting rates. Hence, discriminating against a group of people has the effect of reducing their electoral impact. It’s a subtle way of reducing a group’s power in society.

About John Gastil

John Gastil is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and Senior Scholar at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at The Pennsylvania State University. He specializes in political deliberation and group decision making, and he has published both nonfiction and fiction.
This entry was posted in Jury structure and reform, Social/political impact of juries, Voir dire and jury selection. Bookmark the permalink.

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