Module Four: Jury Selection
4-1 Legal Policy Memorandum: Fair Cross Section of Jurors
Critical Issues in Criminal Justice
CJ 500 Module Four Legal Policy Memorandum Guidelines and Rubric
Overview: For this assignment, you will write a legal policy memorandum to the district court judge addressing the controversial issue of obtaining a fair cross section of jurors to serve on a jury. By analyzing this specific issue, this memorandum will help prepare you for your Milestone Two submission in Module Five, where you will provide an in-depth analysis of the contemporary criminal justice issue that you have selected for your final project.
The continuing underrepresentation of some groups—including minorities, young adults, and the poor—remains a concern in attempting to create a fair cross section of the community represented on juries. One reason for this underrepresentation is obvious racism, bigotry, and prejudice. Another reason is that the poor often cannot afford to be on juries, because they will miss work and be compensated at a much lower wage to serve on the jury. Social class plays a strong role in conflict theory, as the theory suggests socioeconomic status directly affects the selection of jurors and the disparity in social class of those incarcerated in this country. Often, attorneys use peremptory challenges to exclude jurors, which require no show of cause or reasonable grounds to exclude. These peremptory challenges are often utilized when a juror seems apathetic or disinterested in the process. Peremptory challenges are limited in number, whereas challenges for cause (some type of conflict, bias, or affiliation with the involved parties) are unlimited.
Prompt: Use the Memorandum Template to complete the assignment. Address the following critical elements as they are reflected in the Sample Legal Policy Memorandum. These critical elements appear as headings in that document as follows:
- Issue Presented: Summarize the issue in the form of a brief one-sentence question.
- Short Answer: Provide a short answer which summarizes the conclusion of the memorandum.
- Statement of Facts: Describe how the issue may negatively affect public perception of the criminal justice system.
- Discussion: Provide a brief discussion of the issue, including the recent history of the issue and any legal precedents related to it.
- Conclusion: Provide a conclusion based on the details of the issue outlined in the Discussion section.
- a) What recommendations should be in place to make sure that the jury pool contains a fair cross section of the community?
- b) What are types of evidence-based practices can be employed to have people of lower socioeconomic status more willing to serve on a jury?
- c) Based on your analysis of the issue using conflict theory, what are the best practices to ensure random selection of individuals to serve on a
- d) Address what the impact of this issue is on the criminal justice system. Are more organizations than only courts affected by this? Include
examples of the impact on the different branches of the criminal justice system.