Am I in 1930s Mississippi?

Donna Grethen / Op-Art

I wish I could say this article “Jury Duty in Seattle: Am I in 1930s Mississippi?” surprised me entirely. Perhaps my perspective may have been changed if I too knew the title of the 11-minute video jurors watched, so that I too could watch it and decide for myself if it helped one overcome years of unconscious bias (though I highly doubt it). Nevertheless, I do believe this it is a conversation we should still be having in 2020. Babb touched on something important when she stated “Race wasn’t the only demographic out of whack. My six-person jury comprised an engineer, two people in management, two researchers and myself, a minister and writer. Three of us, or maybe more, had graduate degrees. These are all individuals of middle and upper class who can afford the time off work.” That revelation speaks volumes to me as it is clear most cases jurors will see will be felony cases, which are often lower class, uneducated, citizens of color who cannot take time off from work to judge their peers. Babb echoed my sentiments when she stated “One of my fellow jurors had previously worked at Costco, and he said he never would have asked for time off for jury duty, nor would he have been able to afford to take the time off without pay.” Babb asked readers if her experience was typical. I would say it is. My questions are: “How do we fix this issue? Do we offer a higher financial rate for siting on a jury? Do we offer court after hours and/or on the weekend so it can fit in with the average working person’s schedule?” What is a solution to this problem?

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2 Responses to Am I in 1930s Mississippi?

  1. adguru101 says:

    A complex and disturbing issue. Higher pay might still not solve the problem in cases requiring lengthy trials, but a sliding scale for jurors based on their income could still help redress the imbalance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      It truly is a complex and disturbing issue. I do like the idea of a sliding scale for jurors based on their income it is a start to a solution. Thank you for reading.

      Like

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