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Jury Duty Works Best When Jurors Show Up

One of the most satisfying moments for a trial judge is having people honor their jury summons by showing up. It's even more fulfilling when the jury pool truly reflects the demographics of the community. Perhaps jurors are more open-minded today, but some of the greatest inequities in justice occurred with non-diverse jury pools.

Please note that just because you show up doesn't mean that you will actually serve on the jury. Each side is allowed a certain number of peremptory challenges and strikes. These are generally allowed as long as race is not the basis for striking jurors. The U.S. Supreme Court case Batson v. Kentucky reinforced the 1875 Civil Rights Act and said that jurors cannot be excluded from serving solely based on their race.

The system is imperfect as the Supreme Court still routinely hears cases that question whether the racial makeup of the jury created any type of bias, i.e. Flowers v. Mississippi in 2019. Yet, in our democratic society, justice is best served when those who are eligible to be on a jury make themselves available and show up.

Let Justice Roll!