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NCJ Number: 66687 Find in a Library
Title: ASSESSING THE CONSEQUENCES OF ETHNIC, SEXUAL, AND ECONOMIC REPRESENTATION ON STATE GRAND JURIES - A RESEARCH NOTE
Journal: JUSTICE SYSTEM JOURNAL  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:(WINTER 1979)  Pages:197-203
Author(s): C E DAVIS; C K ROWLAND
Corporate Author: Institute for Court Management
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Institute for Court Management
Denver, CO 80202
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS STUDY EXAMINES THE EXTENT TO WHICH GREATER REPRESENTATION OF MINORITIES, WOMEN, AND OTHER GROUPS ON GRAND JURIES IS ASSOCIATED WITH A HIGH NO-BILL RATE FOR ROUTINE AND NONROUTINE TYPES OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY.
Abstract: GRAND JURIES RETURN WELL IN EXCESS OF 90 PERCENT TRUE BILLS IN MOST JURISDICTIONS, WHILE PROCESSING A HEAVY CASELOAD. THIS SUGGESTS THAT GRAND JURIES ARE FREQUENTLY CHARACTERIZED LESS BY INDEPENDENCE THAN BY AGREEMENT. THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM'S EMPHASIS ON INFORMAL DECISION RULES FOR CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF CASES MINIMIZES INTERNAL DISCUSSION OR DISAGREEMENT AMONG JURORS AND ENABLES THE GRAND JURY TO PROCESS ENTIRE SETS OF CASES. THIS STUDY WAS CONDUCTED TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE GOAL OF 'EFFICIENCY' IN THE PROCESSING OF CASES WAS ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY THE MAINTENANCE OF DUE PROCESS PROTECTION FOR INDIVIDUALS ACCUSED OF A CRIME. IT FOCUSED ON THE UNIVERSE OF GRAND JURIES EMPANELED DURING MONDAY/WEDNESDAY SESSIONS IN HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS, BETWEEN 1972 AND 1975. FOR EACH JURY, THE DEGREE OF REPRESENTATION FOR EACH CLASS (ETHNICITY, SEX, AND INCOME) WAS DETERMINED, AS WAS THE DISPOSITION OF CASES. FINDINGS INDICATE THAT REPRESENTATION OF MINORITIES AND LOW-INCOME INDIVIDUALS WAS RELATED TO NO-BILL PROPENSITY. TO THE EXTENT THAT THE GRAND JURY IS ECONOMICALLY AND RACIALLY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COMMUNITY, IT MAY PRESENT AN OBSTACLE TO EFFICIENT PROCESSING OF THE MORE DRAMATIC AND CONTROVERSIAL CHARGES. THUS, GREATER REPRESENTATION OF MINORITIES AND LOW-INCOME GROUPS MAY SERVE TO HELP CHECK THE INFLUENCE OF THE PROSECUTOR BY FACILITATING DISCUSSION AND CONTROVERSY IN IMPORTANT CASES. A POSSIBLE BYPRODUCT OF THIS PROCESS IS A MORE INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE. REFERENCES, A TABLE, AND FOOTNOTES ARE SUPPLIED. INFORMATION CONCERNING THE DEMOGRAPHIC COMPOSITION OF GRAND JURIES IS APPENDED. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Females; Grand juries; Indigents; Juror characteristics; Jury decisionmaking; Jury unanimity; Mexican Americans; Right to Due Process
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66687

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