This paper discusses the manner in which an individual can justify the significance of racially mixed juries to a state legislature. It also discusses the responses of an opponent of jury reforms. According to Cole and Smith (2015), the sixth amendment to the constitution of the United States has a mandate to ensure that a criminal defendant obtains undisputed right to be tried by an unbiased jury. The impartiality requirement should explore apparent simplicity in a manner that is deceptive. However, it should be clear that a lot of controversies regarding have been the main hindrance in the process of laying procedures that can lead to an impartial jury. The significance of impartiality has, for a long time, been clear to the courts; however, they have continued to struggle with unfulfilling victory in the quest to achieve these objectives (Cole & Smith, 2015). In this case, the main focus has been on the racial diversity in the jury composition, which has also been the center of criticism for various jury judgments especially in the case of high-profile cases.
In justifying these reforms to a state legislature, it is worth noting that a moderately extreme structure of an impartial jury acknowledges that jurors approach the court with various experiences and believes; however, it relies on the assumption that each juror who is involved in issuing verdicts will detach from predispositions, group allegiances, or biases in order to achieve impartial and fair decisions in a case (Walker & Spohn, 2011). This therefore, implies that, right from the point of jury selection, potential jurors who cannot maintain their promise to avoid prejudices or biases should not be recruited. This is especially vital if they will fail making decisions based on the available evidence during the trial process. Having a racially mixed jury is a welcome idea that can promote fairness and impartiality. Historically, ethnic and racial minority defendants have encountered a lot of difficulties receiving justice in cases where trails are conducted by a jury that is all-white. In most cases, white district attorneys are mandated with prosecuting minority defendants without including district attorneys from their ethnic and racial communities. Such minority defendants end up being indicted and sentenced by white judges and denied opportunities to appeal. This is an indication of the fact that despite the existence of the Civil Rights of 1875 that was supposed to eliminate ethnic and racial discrimination, the American jury is still comprised of the majority white with little representation of the legal interest of ethnic and racial communities (Walker & Spohn, 2011). It is because of this reason that people of color or minority groups continue experiencing exclusion from jury service on the basis of their race, mostly in major criminal trials such as cases that attract death penalty.
Encouraging racially mixed juries will change the image of the criminal justice system in the eyes of the various marginalized segments of the American community. It will facilitate equal administration of justice; for instance, it will eliminate cases such as an all-white jury acquitting defendants from the white community when there is sufficient evidence to process their conviction and judgment, or convicting defendants from minority communities when the present evidence does not qualify leading to conviction and judgment (Phillips & Webster, 2013). Having a jury that entirely belongs to a single racial background may lead to prejudice against other groups of the society and eventually encourage impartial practice in the criminal justice system. Racial diversity of the jury is significant because it increases its ability to regard various perspectives during evaluation of evidence at trial stages. Therefore, the ability to conduct proper evaluation of evidence decreases due to failure by juries especially when there is no fair reflection of racial diversity.
However, in most cases, opponents of judicial reforms to encourage racially mixed juries have always dismissed the significance of racial inclusion claiming that white jurors play a significant role in cases concerning defendants from all racial diversities. This is because they have the capacity to engage in long deliberation and therefore, establish more facts regarding the case at hand as well as conduct wider-ranging considerations (Walker & Spohn, 2011). They do not make a lot of mistakes when it comes to recalling evidence and facts, and can easily point out the missing evidence. Besides, individuals should only be included in the juries based on their qualification in regards to administering criminal justice, and their promise to ignore racial and ethnic prejudice.
Generally, reforms to encourage racially mixed juries comprise a positive step towards achieving impartiality in the administration of criminal justice. It prevents unnecessary acquittal of white defendants even when there is sufficient evidence that can lead to conviction and judgment. The presence of minorities on the jury can help prevent prosecutors from relying on racially or ethnically stereotyped nuances and arguments (Phillips & Webster, 2013). A jury that has fair racial representation will have the capacity to ensure that all investigations are conducted in a manner that is nonracially discriminatory.
In conclusion, having a racially mixed jury is a welcome idea that can promote fairness and impartiality. Encouraging racially mixed juries will change the image of the criminal justice system in the eyes of the various marginalized segments of the American community. It should be clear that opponents of judicial reforms to encourage racially mixed juries have always dismissed the significance of racial inclusion claiming that white jurors play a significant role in cases concerning defendants from all racial diversities.
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