Oppose The Court's Plan To Make Jury Service More Difficult And Juries Less Diverse
Thank you to the nearly 1,000 people who sent letters and emails to the courts opposing this planned rule change. Special thanks to Senator Nancy Skinner; Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Tony Thurmond; Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle; Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley; Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf; Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin; Emeryville Mayor John Bauters; Newark Mayor Alan Nagy; Alameda Vice Mayor Malia Vella; Oakland City Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Dan Kalb, Abel Guillen, Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Annie Campbell Washington, and Desley Brooks; Berkeley City Councilmembers Kriss Worthington, Cheryl Davila, Ben Bartlett, and Kate Harrison; Union City Councilmember Gary Singh; Peralta Community College District Trustee Linda Handy; Bay Area Legal Aid; Civicorps; Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; BOSS (Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency); Cypress Mandela, Inc.; Essie Justice Group; Silicon Valley Debug; and East Bay Community Law Center.
Public comments on this matter are now closed.
We hope that we can stop this rule change from taking place and will keep you posted when the court makes a decision.
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.
Currently, the rule provides that Alameda County civil and misdemeanor juries are drawn from four locations with potential jurors called to serve in the courthouse that is closest to them geographically. 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 that 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.
The courts were accepting public comment on the proposed change until May 3, 2018, with the proposed change taking effect July 1 if the courts decide to go through with the change.
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