Affirmative Jury Selection: A Proposal to Advance Both the Deliberative Ideal and Jury Diversity

University of Chicago Legal Forum, Vol. 1998, pp. 161-177

Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper

10 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2012  

Deborah A. Ramirez

Northeastern University - School of Law

Date Written: 1998

Abstract

My thesis is that the racial, religious, and ethnic diversity of the jury has a positive and important influence on the jury process. Accordingly, I believe we should select jurors in a way that encourages and enhances such diversity. While I recognize the danger that jurors who are chosen in part because of their racial, religious, or ethnic affiliation may come to believe that they have a duty to represent their particular group in some fashion, I offer a procedure for enhancing juror diversity – affirmative peremptory challenges – that minimizes this danger as much as possible. In short, this article exposes the fallacy of believe that the best way to ensure a race-neutral jury verdict is through a race-neutral selection process. Its thesis is that a racially diverse jury is more likely to render a race-neutral verdict, because it is more likely to suppress racial bias in deliberations and to challenge inferences based on thoughtless racial stereotypes. Consequently, to best ensure race-neutrality in a jury’s verdict, we need to acknowledge our racial differences in selecting that jury and take steps necessary to increase the likelihood of racial diversity among the twelve jurors who will render that verdict.

Suggested Citation

Ramirez, Deborah A., Affirmative Jury Selection: A Proposal to Advance Both the Deliberative Ideal and Jury Diversity (1998). University of Chicago Legal Forum, Vol. 1998, pp. 161-177; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2102073

Deborah A. Ramirez (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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