Jury Summons

Jury Summons

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Including Noncitizens in the Venire

In a forthcoming article being published by the American Sociological Association entitled, “Citizenship and Punishment: The Salience of National Membership in U.S. Criminal Courts,” researchers found that non-citizens are not afforded the same legal treatment in U.S.courts.  The study suggests juries to tend to convict non-citizens at a much higher rate.  It found that by “analyzing U.S. federal district court data from 1992-2008 for this study [that] [i]n 2008…96 percent of convicted non-citizens received a prison sentence, compared to 85 percent of U.S. citizens.”  In addition, the authors write that “the group threat perspective … suggests dominant group members feel threatened economically, politically, criminally, or culturally, and will stepup efforts to maintain social control when minority group populations are increasing.” 

As such, giving such rights to noncitizens is not without precedent.  Although as the study suggests that citizens tend to convict noncitizens at a higher rate, another way to mitigate the situation is to allow legal permanent residents or “green card holders” to join juries.  In 2011, it was estimated that there were about 13.1 million LPRs in the United States.    The main principle that backs the American jury system stems from the principle of having our trials be adjudicated by a jury of our peers.  The Supreme Court has stated that “juries as instruments of public justice…[should] be a body truly representative of the community.”  If we truly espoused to live up to this principle, it might be high time to allow LPRs to participate in jury duty. 

No comments:

Post a Comment