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Role of Neighborhood Race and Status in the Middle Stages of Juror Selection

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 35 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2007 Pages: 391-403
Ralph B. Taylor; Jerry H. Ratcliffe; Lillian Dote; Brian A. Lawton
Date Published
July 2007
13 pages
Using a year of geocoded data on summoning for jury duty in Philadelphia, PA (n=256,204), this study examined the impacts of neighborhood race, status, and stability on the likelihood that summoned citizens would appear at the courthouse for jury duty.
The study found that in largely African-American neighborhoods and in neighborhoods where the relative predominance of African-Americans was increasing, potential jury yield declined. By contrast, in integrated neighborhoods, higher yields of appearances for jury duty by African-Americans were found. After controlling for status and other factors, Philadelphians from predominantly African-American neighborhoods were not more underrepresented in appearances for jury selection; they were slightly better represented. By contrast, underrepresentation did become more severe in this stage for those from predominantly Hispanic or Asian neighborhoods. This may have been due to cultural barriers, including lack of proficiency in English. Underrepresentation of those from lower socioeconomic status neighborhoods was also found. This made jury representativeness across class lines more difficult. Age composition was not significant. In January of 2002, the authors requested of the lead administrator and President Judge of the Philadelphia County municipal court system the addresses of summoned jurors and the outcome of the request for service for all of calendar year 2001. The addresses of contacted potential jurors were geocoded, and then each potential juror's outcome was linked to the attributes of the juror's residential census block group. 3 tables, 20 notes, and 56 references


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