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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51694 Find in a Library
Title: APPEARANCE OF JUSTICE AND THE ADVANTAGES OF STATE - THE PROCESS OF VOIR DIRE IN POLITICAL TRIALS
Journal: CONTEMPORARY CRISES  Volume:2  Issue:4  Dated:(OCTOBER 1978)  Pages:373-405
Author(s): D WELLMAN; R FITZGERALD
Corporate Author: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co
Netherlands
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co
1000 Ah Amsterdam, Netherlands
Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sale Source: Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: THE LEGALLY MANDATED PROCESS FOR JURY SELECTION ASSURES PROSECUTORIAL ADVANTAGE IN A POLITICAL TRIAL. EXAMPLES FROM THE VOIR DIRE IN THE TRIAL OF A WOMAN ASSOCIATED WITH THE SYMBIONESE LIBERATION ARMY ILLUSTRATE THE IDEA.
Abstract: JURY LISTS ARE USUALLY MADE UP OF NAMES SELECTED FROM VOTER REGISTRATION LISTS AND SYSTEMATICALLY UNDERREPRESENT THE YOUNG, POOR, MINORITIES, BLUE COLLAR WORKERS, PEOPLE WITH LOW EDUCATIONAL LEVELS, AND THE CONSCIENTIOUS NONVOTER. A SECONDARY EXCLUSION OF PERSONS FOR 'HARDSHIP' REASONS INTERFERES FURTHER WITH THE RANDOMNESS OF THE LIST. PRETRIAL PUBLICITY IS DISCUSSED IN RELATION TO JURY SELECTION, AND IT IS NOTED THAT 92 PERCENT OF THE POTENTIAL JURORS IN THE CASE OF WENDY YOSHIMURA HAD SOME KNOWLEDGE OF HER, 40 PERCENT LINKED HER NAME WITH THE SYMBIONESE LIBERATION ARMY (SLA), AND 56 PERCENT CONSIDERED HER GUILTY OF POSSESSING EXPLOSIVES. THE DEFENSE ASKED FOR A 'STRUCK' SYSTEM OF JUROR EXAMINATION AND SELECTION TO PREVENT POTENTIAL JURORS FROM HEARING ONE ANOTHER'S RESPONSES. AFTER THESE INITIAL EXAMINATIONS, THE PROCESS OF VOIR DIRE, SUPPOSEDLY DESIGNED TO INSURE THAT PEOPLE WHO STAND TRIAL ARE JUDGED FAIRLY BY AN IMPARTIAL JURY, BEGINS. THE PROSECUTING AND DEFENSE ATTORNEY INTERVIEW POTENTIAL JURORS AND CAN EXCLUDE PERSONS FOR 'CAUSE' (FOR WHICH A REASON MUST BE GIVEN AND APPROVED BY THE JUDGE) AND ON 'PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE' (FOR WHICH NO REASON IS NECESSARY). BOTH ATTORNEYS ARE GIVEN SPECIFIC NUMBER OF PEREMPTORY CHALLENGES. EXAMPLES FROM THE YOSHIMURA TRIAL ARE CITED TO SHOW THAT POTENTIAL JURORS HAVE A TENDENCY TO GIVE A LEARNED RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS OR LOOK TO THE JUDGE FOR AN APPROPRIATE ANSWER, TO ILLUSTRATE THE DISCRETION OF THE JUDGE IN ACCEPTING CAUSE CHALLENGES, AND TO SHOW THAT UNDERLYING ATTITUDES CAN BE IGNORED IN JUROR RESPONSES WHEN THEY DEFEND THEIR OWN IMPARTIALITY. IT IS MAINTAINED THAT WHITE, MIDDLE-AGED PERSONS ARE MORE LIKELY TO ACCEPT LEGAL PROCEDURES AND JUDICIAL AUTHORITY WITHOUT QUESTION THAN BLACK PERSONS OR YOUNG PERSONS WHO MAY HAVE HAD MORE CONTACT WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. THIS RESULTS IN A JURY THAT IS DISPROPORTIONATELY WHITE, MIDDLE-AGED, AND RESISTANT TO POLITICAL BELIEFS THAT ARE INCONSISTENT WITH AMERICAN VALUES. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT MULTIPLE LISTS BE USED FOR SELECTING JURY POOLS (E.G. DRIVER'S LICENSES, WELFARE LISTS), ALTHOUGH THIS WOULD NOT CORRECT THE BIASES IN VOIR DIRE. REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (DAG)
Index Term(s): Attitudes; Defense; Judicial discretion; Juries; Jury selection; Prosecution; Right to Due Process; Rights of the accused
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51694

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