Racial Bias in Jury Selection

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on November 2, 2015 in a criminal case involving the question of excluding jurors from jury service based upon race. The case in question is a Georgia death penalty case wherein the defendant is black and the prosecution excluded all African-American jurors. If prosecutors did this, which it appears they did, the case will be reversed under the Supreme Court’s precedent established in Batson v. Kentucky. 

    This issue is raised time and again in criminal cases. However, this form of racial profiling is also frequently seen in civil cases. Although they will never admit it, insurance defense lawyers and lawyers representing business interests try to exclude racial minorities. 

    It is unlawful for someone to be excluded from jury service in criminal and civil based solely on race, but in civil cases this point is almost never raised at trial or on appeal.