Dec 17

final-jur-e headline

Case Against Minnesota Cop Prompts Concerns About Juror English Competency

Minnesota’s West Central Tribune reports a potential juror in the prosecution of former police officer Kimberly Potter (who shot a Black motorist when mistaking her gun for a Taser) was struck during voir dire after saying she did not understand English well enough to follow the case.  (The Tribune adds that the same thing happened to a potential juror in the Derek Chauvin trial.)  Trial observers, including Boston University professor Jasmine Gonzales Rose, wonder why interpreters are not offered to jurors and, worse yet, whether language requirements are a proxy for ethnic discrimination.  In a fulsome interview, Professor Gonzales Rose points to a documented instance where a potential juror’s speech accent was enough to justify being stricken due to concerns about the quality of communications during final deliberations.  The article tees up memories of the Supreme Court’s teaching in Powers v. Ohio confirming the right of citizens to engage in jury service.

New Research on the Significance of Jury Size

NCSC’s Center for Jury Studies released a briefing paper that summarizes recent studies on the impact of jury size on the demographic composition of juries, the accuracy and reliability of verdicts, and operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.  New insights from empirical research highlight the interrelationship of jury size and unanimous-verdict rules on the dynamics of jury deliberations.

News Producer Gets Slapped for Following Rittenhouse Jury Bus

ABC TV News in Chicago got a chance to call out rival news network NBC for improperly following a bus carrying the deliberating jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse case in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In Federal Trial of Ahmaud Arbery Assailants, Prosecutors Seek Expansion of Jury Pool Beyond Glynn County

After being convicted of various homicide charges in a rural Georgia county state court, Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan are scheduled to face federal charges in a federal courthouse in rural Brunswick, Georgia.  Given the drawn-out process to find a fair and impartial jury in that state prosecution, reporter Larry Hobbs with Brunswick News reports that attorneys for both sides in the case have requested the federal court to summon jurors from 43 counties in the Southern District of Georgia.

Houston Sports Arena Remains Favored Venue for Jury Selection reporting makes clear the current conduct of jury trials remains different from pre-pandemic norms.  Except for the time frame from February 6 through March 31 when the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo takes place, the Harris County Commissioners recently approved spending $3.8 million to continue renting the Harris County Sports and Convention Center for jury selection during the ongoing public health emergency.