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Creating Representative Juries: An Exploration of Barriers in St. Louis County, Minnesota

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2023
20 pages

This report summarizes the findings and recommendations of a team of experts training and assisting the St. Louis County Public Defender’s Office to address issues affecting the right to a representative jury in the county.


Supported by the Strengthening the Sixth Amendment Grant (Sixth Amendment Grant), the Justice For All Team (the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the National Center for State Courts, and RTI International) uses its specializations and expertise to provide state and local jurisdictions with strategic planning, training, and technical assistance on issues related to the Sixth Amendment. In 2020, the St. Louis County Public Defender’s Office applied for training and technical assistance to identify issues affecting the right to a representative jury in St. Louis County. In addition to the St. Louis County Public Defender’s Office, the request for assistance was supported by the Sixth Judicial District Court (collectively the St. Louis County Team). The suggestions provided in this report may help increase the number of individuals who are selected for and who complete jury service and thus increase jury representativeness overall. Some recommendations can be implemented immediately, whereas others may require judicial or legislative intervention and can be viewed as longer-term proposals. In addition to these recommendations, targeted community outreach and engagement can be implemented to increase trust and perceptions of fairness in the criminal legal system generally, which may offer opportunities to encourage community members to provide race data to the court. Community outreach may also allow the courts to share information with prospective jurors to ensure that current address information is accurate and to ensure that they are included on the source lists currently being used. Finally, defining clear targets for jury representation in St. Louis County will be useful in assessing progress toward identified goals. Collecting data on the outcomes of adopted recommendations will help identify the most successful interventions, particularly given that what is successful in one jurisdiction might not be the most effective approach in another.