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June 2, 2010

New EJI report on racial discrimination in jury selection

As detailed in this new New York Times article, which is headlined "Study Finds Blacks Blocked From Southern Juries," the folks at the Equal Justice Initiative have released a new report on racial discrimination in jury selection.  This EJI release about the report gets started this way:

Nearly 135 years after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to eliminate racial discrimination in jury selection, people of color continue to be excluded from jury service because of their race, especially in serious criminal trials and death penalty cases.  EJI today released a new report, “Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy,” which is the most comprehensive study of racial bias in jury selection since the United States Supreme Court tried to limit the practice in Batson v. Kentucky in 1986.

“The underrepresenation and exclusion of people of color from juries has seriously undermined the credibility and reliability of the criminal justice system, and there is an urgent need to end this practice,” said Bryan Stevenson, EJI's Executive Director.  “While courts sometimes have attempted to remedy the problem of discriminatory jury selection, in too many cases today we continue to see indifference to racial bias."

During two years of research in eight southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee), EJI interviewed over 100 African-American citizens who were excluded from jury service based on race and reviewed hundreds of court documents and records.  EJI uncovered shocking, present-day evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection....

The full EJI report is available at this link.

June 2, 2010 at 09:23 AM | Permalink


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