Exorcising Presumptions: Judges and Attorneys Contemplate 'Felon-Juror Inclusion' in Maine
Justice System Journal, Forthcoming
34 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2018
Date Written: June 5, 2018
This exploratory study is the first to examine how courtroom personnel conceive of and navigate Maine’s unique policy of felon-juror inclusion. Findings derived from interviews with trial judges and trial attorneys in Maine, the only US jurisdiction that does not restrict a convicted felon’s opportunity to serve as a juror, reveal that participants ostensibly reject the criminology of the other, instead viewing former offenders as individual fellow citizens who contribute to and benefit from their inclusion in the jury process. These views also tend to shape jury selection in Maine, as participants reported taking a case-specific, personalized approach to the screening of felon-jurors. For felon-jurors with a sexual offense, however, some participants refused to acknowledge the possibility of reformation, intimating that all such offenders lack the character to engage in the jury process. In sum, this study suggests that among courtroom personnel in Maine, the criminology of the other has little influence on their conceptualizations and treatment of almost all potential felon-jurors.
Keywords: Convicted Felon, Juror, Jury Selection, Criminology of the Other
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