12

I am interested in seeing how the demographics of juries compare with voters in the United States. Is anyone familiar with any research in this area? In a perfect world voters would be defined as "reported voters" however I will gladly accepted "reported registered to vote."

5
  • I believe the details vary from state-to-state. Many states, I believe, use the voter registry as a way to randomly select Juror candidates, so at that level, the demographics should match 1:1. As for who gets SELECTED to actually be a part of the trial, that's a different process and likely produces a much greater difference in terms of demographic comparison. – user1530 May 12 '14 at 16:33
  • @DA my question is not about "potential jurors" compared to voters, it is about jurors--potential jurors SELECTED to sit on the jury. These are the individuals have gone through voir dire, were not granted postponement, excused for hardship, etc. – dfc May 12 '14 at 19:01
  • Jury of your peers these days means 12 people too dumb to get out of Jury Duty</snark> – user4012 May 12 '14 at 20:59
  • If you're asking about post voir dire--I think that's an interesting question. Not sure if there is data on that. – user1530 May 13 '14 at 2:32
  • @blip While almost every jurisdiction starts with a voter list to select jurors, it is almost universal at this point to use additional sources of jurors to supplement that list, and there is a risk of constitutional challenge to convictions if the jury pool isn't expanded in this way. – ohwilleke Mar 2 '17 at 17:41
2

While it is only one data point and doesn't directly compare to voter registration pools (and hence is only a partial answer), a Master's Thesis comparing juries in 2000 and 2010 reached this conclusion (raw Chi square statistics omitted without indication) regarding jury pools in a Tennessee county in informative of the general trends:

[C]ompared to the 2008 Census data, the jury panels have a significantly higher percentage of White/Caucasians (83.2% vs. 74.1%, p < .01), and a higher percentage of males (53.1% vs. 46.8%, p =.015). Additionally, the participants were older (p < .01), had higher levels of income (p < .01), higher levels of education (p < .01). . . .

[C]ompared with the 2000 Census, the jury panels in 2000 had significantly more White/Caucasians (83.3% vs. 75.5%), p=.046. Additionally, the potential jurors from the previous studies tended to be older (p < .01), have higher levels of income (p < .01), and higher levels of education (p < .01). . . .

[T]he present jury pools are composed of citizens who are older, more male, more White/Caucasian, more likely to be married, have higher education levels, and have higher levels of income than 10 years ago. . . . In 2000, the typical juror was a 39-year-old White, female, who was married, with some college, and whose income was about $55,000 per year. In 2010, the typical juror is a 50-year-old White, male, who is married, with an associate‟s degree, and whose income is approximately $59,000 per year.

3
  • It is also important to be careful about terminology. The pool of people who are called for jury duty differs from the people who show up to potentially serve on juries and differs from the people who actually end up serving on juries. For example, lawyers aren't heavily over represented in those called, are overrepresented among those called among those who show up, and are grossly underrepresented among those who show up who actually end up serving as jurors. This study looks at those actually serving. The disparity is also greater on grand juries (that last many week) than on trial juries. – ohwilleke Aug 19 '19 at 20:19
  • One of the better studies (from FL) is papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1673994 For example, about one in six residents of Sarasota County, Florida is black, but only 4% of jurors in the county are black. – ohwilleke Apr 2 at 21:36
  • Analysis of a study looking at the compositions of UK juries can be found at washparkprophet.blogspot.com/2016/02/… – ohwilleke Apr 2 at 21:38
-3

I believe it would depend upon the pool by which potential jurors are selected. In my locality it seems related to be the voter registration list, the driver’s license list, and the state ID list. Over the past 3 decades I've been picked a few times, and served once. In the times I did not serve, I was selected to serve in a county from which I had moved away, thereby making me ineligible to serve in that county. The odds here are about 1 in 20. Then you could start looking at the demographics that would exempt people from the list, or allow them to get out of doing it. Judges are automatically exempt from jury duty. To qualify here for jury duty, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the county, at least 18-years-old, able to communicate in English. If you are a convicted felon, you have to have completed legal requirements to have your civil rights restored.

1
  • 1
    I think maybe you meant to add this as a comment? It doesn't answer the question at all. You spent a lot of time discussing eligibility to be on a jury but the question is about actual jurors, this is after voire dire not before. This answer was doomed when I got to "odds are 1 in 20"? – dfc Mar 2 '17 at 16:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .