Connecticut Initiates Study of Racial Discrimination During Jury Selection

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Connecticut Initiates Study of Racial Discrimination During Jury Selection

In the course of rejecting a Batson challenge on appeal, the Connecticut Supreme Court announced that it is creating a task force to examine instances of discriminatory use of peremptory strikes in criminal cases.  This effort resembles what the Washington State Supreme Court did in 2013.  The Connecticut high court rejected a Batson challenge, but created a “Jury Selection Workgroup” that produced proposed new rules of procedure to better enforce the Batson doctrine.  Thereafter, in 2018, the Connecticut Supreme promulgated a final new Batson procedure rule for all jury trials.

Retired Trial Judge Authors a Plan to Make It Tougher to Avoid Jury Duty

Jon Stuebbe was a law-school dean and a California Superior Court judge for 20 years.  As a guest columnist in the Bakersfield Californian, he proposes a new way to address the problem of jury duty "no shows."  He urges the state department of motor vehicles to systematically notify people whose driver's licenses are up for renewal that they can pick them up at the courthouse jury services office on the date they begin jury duty.

U.S. Second Circuit Panel Entertains Criticism of Federal Judge’s Call for Jury Nullification

U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill granted a defense team request that their client should be allowed to inform the jury of the potential sentence and argue for jury nullification.  The prosecution promptly sought a writ of mandamus against the trial judge for the federal circuit court.  The three-judge appellate panel had some interesting things to say about that.

Prosecutor in Prior Six Curtis Flowers Prosecutions Removes Himself from Possible 7th Prosecution

The Jur-E Bulletin has published several articles about Mississippi’s six prosecutions of Curtis Flowers—all convictions then overturned because of Batson violations.  This week District Attorney Doug Evans, who was the lead prosecutor of Flowers in all prior cases, filed a voluntary recusal motion in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

New CJS report: "Reforming the Grand Jury Indictment"

Widespread publicity about incidents involving police use of lethal force has led to increased public concern that police are not being held adequately accountable by the criminal justice system, beginning with the failure of grand juries to return indictments against police officers suspected of using excessive force.  The NCSC Center for Jury Studies (CJS) highlights state and federal efforts to address these concerns in a new article, Reforming the Grand Jury Indictment Process: Recent Efforts to Improve Public Confidence in Cases Involving Police Use of Legal Force (2019). The paper explains the historical background for grand juries and how they differ from trial juries. Many of the monograph graphics are also available in interactive format on the NCSC Center for Jury Studies web page.