Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Argument for Non-Citizen Jurors

The article below and the study it cites makes a strong argument for allowing non-citizen jurors. According to the article, in criminal proceedings, non-citizens face higher sentences than those who are citizens. The article goes on to say that undocumented non-citizens fared even worse. This article and the study give support to the bill that Governor Brown vetoed last year which would have allowed non-citizens, who were lawfully in the United States, to serve as jurors. 

I would also note that allowing non-citizens to serve is not a new concept. For example, England, for close to 500 years, (the practice was eventually abolished by the Naturalization Act of 1870) permitted the jury de medietate linguae, or “jury of the half tongue.” In a jury de medietate linguae a non-citizen defendant was allowed the right to request that half of the jury consist of non-citizens. The practice which has been used in the United States, although not for quite some time, helps non-citizens receive fair treatment under the law. 

New Republic: Juries Dole Out Harsher Sentences to Non-Citizens

Monday, September 29, 2014

Jurors Who Lie on Voir Dire

Neil Joel Dilloff

Melissa Rubin Roth

Abstract (to read the entire article go here)
You have spent several hours selecting a jury in a civil case. In accordance with the usual Maryland procedure, the jurors were sworn and the trial judge conducted the voir dire, permitting counsel to ask only a few follow-up questions. One question the court asked the potential jurors is whether they ever have been a plaintiff or defendant in a civil or criminal case. Some answer affirmatively and are questioned at the bench. Others remain silent. A jury is selected.

Overnight, you discover that three of the jurors have failed to disclose their prior involvement in litigation. The next morning, you bring this to the attention of the court. Further voir dire is conducted and each of the jurors, after some prodding, admits their litigation histories. One says he didn’t hear the question. One says she thought that since her litigation had been resolved several years ago, there was no need to disclose it. The third provides no excuse. You have already used your peremptory challenges. Accordingly, you now challenge the three jurors for cause. You tell the judge that because neither opening statements nor any evidence have yet been presented, now is the time to replace these jurors.

Friday, September 26, 2014

3D Laser Scanners Bring Crime Scene to Jurors

The article below discusses how the latest 3D laser scanners help Ohio prosecutors bring the crime scene to jurors in the courtroom.  According to Bureau of Criminal Investigation Analyst Megan Timlin, “this brings the jury to the crime scene without them having to leave the jury box."

WCPO: I-Team: 3D laser scanners implemented in Ohio help police, juries ...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Jury Conference: Oct 10th


On Oct 10th, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law will be holding a conference entitled Juries and Lay Participation: American Perspectives and Global Trends.  
The one-day conference will feature a series of panel discussions on juror bias, the jury as a political institution, comparative jury practices and innovations, and practitioners' perspectives on judges and jurors. The Honorable James F. Holderman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (pictured above) will deliver a luncheon keynote address on "Maximizing Jurors' Understanding." 

Free admission and lunch with advance registration. RSVP at A reception will follow the conference.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fed. Judge Appoints Attorney to Protect the Rights of Jurors

Judge Royce Lamberth has appointed an attorney to look into how two sitting jurors are being treated by their employers.  Unfortunately, some employers don't quite understand that you can't retaliate or punish a person for serving as a juror.  Fortunately, Judge Lamberth has taken an interest in protecting these jurors.  While I have heard of private employers taking action against employees for jury service, this is the first example I am aware of that involved federal employees.

ABC News: 2 Blackwater Jurors Raise Pay Issues

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

ABA CLE on Social Media and the Jury (Oct 15th)

 On October 15th the ABA is offering a CLE entitled Using Social Media in the Jury Selection Process.  The CLE runs from 1:00-2:30. 
According to the ABA's website this seminar will touch upon
  • ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 466
  • Best practices
  • Successful use of social media in securing impartial and fair juries
The course will be taught by
    John Browning
    Scott Malouf
    Donald Lundberg