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Document Type

Notes

First Page

453

Abstract

The jury system is intended to instill fairness and increase confidence in the American legal system as a whole. Despite this goal, widespread discrimination remains in jury selection procedures. In order to adequately protect both a defendant’s right to be tried by a jury of his peers and every citizen’s right to participate in the legal system, representativeness should be improved at each of three levels where juror exclusion takes place: (1) the assembly of the jury pool; (2) the issuance of exemptions and excusals from jury service; and (3) the use of peremptory challenges in empanelling the petit jury. States should institute a system like the one used in Massachusetts, which limits service to one day or one trial and eliminates all exemptions from jury service. In addition, the Supreme Court should reevaluate the current unfettered use of peremptory challenges.

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