Jurors with Disabilities
The booklet titled Jurors with Disabilities: A discussion of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other statutory requirements requiring accommodations for the disabled, and practical information to be compliant has been released. It has two related resources, a one-page information sheet and a PPT. A number of Jur-E Bulletin readers generously volunteered their time and expertise which was very helpful, their efforts are greatly appreciated. The resources are only available electronically. The booklet is copyrighted but permission to print/copy will be freely authorized and may be obtained by emailing the editor.
Recommendations of the Iowa Committee on Jury Selection
On October 5, 2017, the Iowa Supreme Court ordered the appointment of a committee to review the process on the selection of jury pools and jurors in Iowa. The Committee on Jury Selection was created and tasked. A final report from the committee dated March 2018 has been released. It contains 13 specific recommendations. There are a few state specific issues addressed in the report but the vast majority of it will be of interest to readers from other jurisdictions.
Newspaper Questions Diversity in New York State Juries
The Buffalo News published an article on March 26, 2018 titled State judge: 'The fact that we have so few black jurors is troubling.’ The article described the case of a 23-year-old African-American criminal defendant named Jordan R. Patterson. When Mr. Patterson saw that the 86 person Niagara County juror pool that was called in to hear his rape trial was largely white, he made a last minute decision to opt for a bench trial. Niagara County's population is 7.3 percent black or African-American but only about 3 percent of people reporting for jury service in 2016 were black or African-American. There is a similar disparity in the reporting rates in many other counties. State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. said, "Our strength is in our diversity, and the fact that we have so few black jurors is troubling to me."
Federal Grand Jurors get a Pay Raise
The Washington Post reported on March 27, 2018 that federal jurors will get a pay raise from $40 a day to $50 a day. For jurors that serve more than 45 days, the rate of pay will rise to $60 a day. The article noted that the last change in juror pay was in 1990 and although the increase is certainly welcomed, it does not keep up with inflation. The jury pay increase was passed in the 2,232 page spending bill which President Trump signed into law last week to avert a government shutdown.
Postcard Juror Summonses
A regular reader is interested in identifying jurisdictions that are using postcards for their juror summonses. If your jurisdiction is using is using postcard jury summonses and you would be willing to speak to this reader about the pros and cons of using them, please send an email to Nathaniel Ralstin and your email will be forwarded. A scanned copy of sample postcard summonses would also be helpful.
The Rippling Effects of the Pena-Rodriguez Case
Richard Jolly, a Research Fellow for the Civil Jury Project, New York University School of Law will publish an article titled The New Impartial Jury Mandate in a forthcoming edition of the Michigan Law Review. The abstract to the article states:
Impartiality is the cornerstone of the Constitution’s jury trial protections. Courts have historically treated impartiality as procedural in nature, meaning that the Constitution requires certain prophylactic procedures which secure a jury that is more likely to reach verdicts impartially. But in Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, 137 S.Ct. 855 (2017), the Supreme Court recognized for the first time an enforceable, substantive component to the mandate. There, the Court held that criminal litigants have a Sixth Amendment right to jury decisions made without reliance on extreme bias, specifically on the basis of race or national origin. The Court did not provide a standard for determining when evidence of partiality is sufficient to set aside a verdict, but made clear that an otherwise procedurally adequate decision may fall to substantive deficiencies.
This Article advances a structural theory of the Constitution’s Impartial Jury Mandate, focusing on the interplay between its ex-ante procedural and ex-post substantive components. The Article argues that the mandate has traditionally taken shape as a collection of procedural guarantees because of a common law prohibition on reviewing the substance of jury deliberations. Pena-Rodriguez tosses this constraint, allowing judges for the first time to review the rationales upon which jurors base their verdicts. The Article then offers a novel approach for applying substantive impartiality more broadly by looking to the Equal Protection Clause’s tiers of scrutiny. It concludes that ex-ante procedural rules and ex-post substantive review can operate in conjunction to tease out undesirable, impermissible forms of jury bias, while still allowing for desirable, permissible forms of jury bias.