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Posted: February 9th, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, in delivering the opinion on Smith v. Texas (1940), wrote:

It is part of the established tradition in the use of juries as instruments of public justice that the jury be a body truly representative of the community. For racial discrimination to result in the exclusion from jury service of otherwise qualified groups not only violates our Constitituon and the laws encacted under it, but is at war with our basic concepts of a democratic society and a representative government.

Take a position. Does the process of jury selection help build fair and impartial juries that are representative of the population in which the trial is occurring?

First, title your post either “The Jury Selection Process Helps Ensure a Fair Trial” or “The Jury Selection Process Does Not Help Ensure a Fair Trial.”

Then, using the information gained in this module and the resources noted above, make your case. How does the jury selection process help or hinder the selection of a representative jury? Does this system help ensure justice and the final outcome of a fair trial? Why or why not? Be sure to build your case with factual resources.

In your response to your peers, consider how well they justified their position, making use of available resources. Consider the following questions in your response posts:

Did they support their position convincingly using appropriate resources?
Which of their points make the most sense to you, even if you made a case for the opposing viewpoint?
Smith v. Texas, 311 U.S. 128 (1940). Retrieved from https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/311/128/
The Jury Selection Process Does Not Help Ensure a Fair Trial

The process of jury selection has been found to be flawed and does not always result in a fair and impartial jury that is representative of the community. Despite laws and court decisions aimed at preventing discrimination in jury selection, such as Smith v. Texas, racial and ethnic bias still persists in the selection process.

For example, jury pools are often compiled from lists of registered voters or drivers license holders, which can result in underrepresentation of minority groups. Additionally, prosecutors have significant discretion in using peremptory challenges to remove potential jurors without providing a reason, which can result in discrimination against minority groups.

Furthermore, research has shown that implicit bias, unconscious attitudes and stereotypes, can influence the jury selection process and result in discrimination against certain groups. This can lead to a biased jury that is not representative of the community, and ultimately undermines the justice system.

The current jury selection process does not always help ensure a fair trial and a representative jury. The persistence of racial and ethnic bias, as well as the influence of implicit bias, highlights the need for continued reforms and efforts .

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