The United States Judicial System

Decent Essays

A criminal defendant’s right to a trial by an impartial and unbiased jury is one of the foundations of the United States judicial system (Flanagan 2015). However, today there is evidence showing that not every defendant receives such a trial. The process of selecting jurors can exclude a particular race (most often blacks) and can also make a biased jury. Attorneys have the power to strategically eliminate prospective jurors which means that even if individual jurors with extreme biases are less likely, juries composed mostly or entirely of jurors with similar biases are more likely (Flanagan 2015). This comes from a peremptory challenge (this is explained in more depth in the next section). The biggest issue that takes place with this is that black jurors are excluded more often than non-black jurors from serving on a jury. Figure A shows a study done by the human rights group “Reprieve Australia” in which they show the number of black jurors struck or excluded compared to the number of non-black jurors struck in Louisiana. This is a huge issue that the United States judicial system faces and something needs to be changed.

Process of jury selection and peremptory challenges
Jurors are chosen in a fashion that combines both random selection and deliberate choice. This process occurs in three stages which include compiling a master list, summoning the venire and conducting voir dire. This brief will be focusing on the voir dire stage as it is essential to understand

Get Access