April Marks the 100th Anniversary of Women Jurors in Kentucky

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April Marks the 100th Anniversary of Women Jurors in Kentucky

The Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro, Kentucky, reports that in April 1921 women won the right to serve on juries and the U.S. Postal Service opened up jobs to females.  In a step back in time, the newspaper reprinted an editorial from a century ago wherein Urey Woodson wrote, “Let us hope the fad for women for jury service will soon play out.  It is no place for women indeed. Many Kentucky women—a majority of them—had suffrage forced on them. Jury service should also not be forced upon them.”

Case Dismissed After Attorney Chose to Wear Face Shield Instead of Face Mask

Law 360 reports a judge in Kings County, New York, dismissed a personal injury case during jury selection because plaintiff’s counsel chose to wear a face shield instead of a face mask as required under statewide protocols.  The lawyer wore a face mask at the beginning of voir dire but switched to a face shield after experiencing difficulty in breathing through a cloth shield.  After becoming lightheaded wearing a mask, the attorney told the judge, “I don't contest the rule. I just am not physically able to comply with the rule to do my job as a lawyer."  Nevertheless, the judge said, “If you refuse to go forward, I am going to have no option but to dismiss the case."

Is a Parole Officer Trained in “Police Officer Standards and Training” Exempt from Jury Service?

In United States v. Pendergrass, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit answered that question in the negative.  The panel concluded that the prospective juror’s police training did not make him a member of “a fire or police department” within the meaning of exempted categories defined in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1863(b)(6)(B).

Georgia Courts Seek Legislative Relief from Speedy Trial Requirements During Judicial Emergencies

After a year’s hiatus of jury trials due to the pandemic, Georgia resumed jury trials this week.  With the need to begin a huge backlog of criminal trials, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harold Melton is advocating for the legislature to pass a bill to authorize courts to continue the suspension of statutory speedy trial rights during the time the court addresses a huge case backlog “following a judicial emergency.”  The state senate has already passed the legislation (S.B. 165), which now awaits state house action.

Becoming a Juror in High-Profile Trial Can Be Scary – Here’s Some Testimony

As the weeks-long trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin proceeds in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Star Tribune provides us with ways to appreciate what it must be like for jurors to serve in the high-profile case.  The news outlet quotes former jurors who served on cases that followed the death of Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody and the police shooting of James Boyd, a schizophrenic homeless man in Albuquerque.