OPPOSE THE COURT’S PLAN TO MAKE JURY SERVICE MORE DIFFICULT AND JURIES LESS DIVERSE
The Alameda County Superior Court has posted a new proposed rule that would change the way jurors are selected for misdemeanor cases. You can read it here: http://www.alameda.courts.ca.gov/Pages.aspx/Invitation-to-Comment-Proposed-Amendments
Currently, Alameda County civil and misdemeanor juries are drawn from several geographic subpanels with potential jurors called to serve in the courthouse that is closest to them. The new rule eliminates these subpanels, and would create county-wide juries for misdemeanor cases, similar to felony jury trials.
All potential jurors would be drawn from one list without respect to the distance between the courthouse and the juror’s residence. This means that a citizen from the outskirts of Fremont or Pleasanton could be called to serve on a misdemeanor petty theft jury trial in Oakland and vice versa.
This will create a heavy burden on the residents of Alameda County who already find it difficult to serve on juries, and it will exacerbate the poor representation of low-income people of color on juries. In short, it will be terrible for our clients, our practice and all the residents of Alameda County.
Thank you to everyone who submitted letters and emails opposing this rule change. Please check back for an update on whether we were successful in preventing this terrible, discriminatory change.
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