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Searching for Minority Juror Representation in a Changing Community

Jury Diversity in Eastern Michigan

Jury Diversity in Eastern Michigan Chief Judge Gerald Rosen of the Eastern District of Michigan speaks on increasing minority representation in jury pools.

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The Eastern District of Michigan had a problem. Although studies showed the court's juror selection process did not systematically exclude racial minorities, the court recognized there was insufficient minority representation. 

Part of the problem was that the court summoned jurors from Detroit and Wayne counties where the exodus of manufacturing and the resulting loss of jobs had led to a record decline in population. A transient community meant a significantly high number of undeliverable juror questionnaires and non-responses. In one mailing, 54 percent of 200 questionnaires were undeliverable, with a 21 percent non-response rate.

The court expanded the jury pool by using drivers' licenses, voter registration, and state ID cards. But they still weren't getting the kind of representation they wanted. That's when Chief Judge Gerald Rosen created an Ad Hoc Jury Committee whose goal was "to seek and implement solutions that would increase minority representation in the Court's jury pools."  In this accompanying U.S. Courts podcast, they discuss what happened next.