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Unfair Representation on Juries in America INTRODUCTION One of the largest problems plaguing the American judicial system has been ensuring that juries in civil and criminal trials are truly representative of the communities in which they serve Historically minorities have been disproportionately excluded from jury service This is a result of many forces such as a low response rate to jury summonses by minorities a high percentage that claim hardships a feeling by lawyers that minorities will be bias toward their own ethnic group and the statistical fact that minorities tend to be poorer thus they can not afford to take off of work to serve on a jury Because of their vast under representation minorities can never get a jury of their peers This does not necessarily imply that they can not get a fair trial in America but simply that the equal justice system that the writers of the constitution laid out is not working the way it was designed POSITION African Americans make up only 12 of the population in the United States yet they account for 42 of all the prisoners on death row When an African American person kills a Caucasian the rate of being sentenced to death is five times higher than if a Caucasian kills a Caucasian Adams 1998 Is this fact because the African American offenders are more violent Or is it just that white jurors do not identify with African Unfair Representation 2 American people as well as they do Caucasians so they find it easier to give harsher punishments This startling statistic is primarily because of the under representation of minority groups on juries in America If defendants had a group of jurors that were more representative of their community in which they lived then the death row statistics might look a little different One of the reasons that minorities are so under represented is because they do not respond to summonses
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