Supreme Court Takes On Racial Discrimination In Jury Selection

The Supreme Court is addressing race discrimination in the selection of jurors. Prospective jurors normally are questioned by the prosecution and defense lawyers. They typically are removed “for cause,” which means they are unable to be impartial. Both sides also have the ability to remove jurors without stating a reason, but sometimes a reason for removing a juror was racial, which is improper.  In 1986, in order to try to eliminate racial discrimination in juror selection, the Court held that if there is a found racial pattern for removing jurors, the prosecutor would have to justify removal for a nonracial reason. However, over time, prosecutors have found ways around the rule, and studies have found that black jurors are two to three times more likely to be removed in recent years. There are numerous examples supporting the theory of racial discrimination against black jurors.

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