When looking at the foundation of our government, one of the most important parts is the right of a defendant to a trial by the jury of his or her peers. In the past, the guilt or innocence of a defendant was almost exclusively determined by a judge or a monarch. Obviously, this led to numerous verdicts and judgments that were entirely unfair. Now, in the United States, the outcome of a trial is determined not only by the skill of the legal professionals and the facts at hand but also by the jury. The jury is made up of 12 people who are selected on what is supposed to be a random basis. Then, they are supposed to render a verdict in partiality based on the facts and the law alarm. At the same time, there are numerous problems with jury selection, including some people not showing up for jury duty. Therefore, it is important to look at the issues with jury selection today.
Racial Discrimination on Juries
The job of the prosecutor and the defense attorney is very straightforward. Both individuals are there to win. Therefore, they are going to do anything possible to win up to the limit of the law. This includes excluding jurors who they think are going to hurt their case. For example, there are cases of legal professionals striking jurors from the jury pool purely on the basis of their race. Obviously, this is discriminatory; however, this still happens on a routine basis. This is the first example of jury discrimination.
The Role of Pretrial Publicity
Often, jurors who participate in a high-profile case are instructed to not watch the news. The point is that watching the news could make a juror impartial. At the same time, by the time to trial rolls around and the jury has been selected, many jurors have already been exposed to the news. Therefore, this could make it hard for someone to have access to a fair and impartial jury. In this case, some trials are moved somewhere else to be, however, the solution is not perfect.
The Privacy of Jurors
Finally, there are also some situations in which the privacy of juries could be compromised. The idea is that jurors are supposed to remain anonymous. That way, jurors are not going to be influenced by the opinion of the public. Family, there are also situations where the identity of juries could get out. This could make people reluctant to participate on juries in the future. This is another major problem that has to be addressed by the government because nobody should feel threatened by serving on a jury. Furthermore, people should see serving on a jury as their constitutional Duty.
There Are Solutions Available
This is only a very brief overview of the problems with jury selection in the United States. It is important for everyone to be aware of these issues and to make sure that their government officials are aware of them. The only way that these problems are going to change is if the public marks it as a problem. The government only responds to problems that are of interest to the public. Therefore, it is critical for everyone to make sure they let the government know that they are not happy with how the current jury selection system works and that something has to change. It is critically important because everyone is entitled to a fair and impartial trial by a jury of his or her peers. Remember, it could be you on the stand one day.