Jury Reform

An article from The Atlantic on the growing problem of people skipping jury service and some proposals for change.

I agree this is a problem, and some of the ideas presented are worth considering, but I’m VERY leery of things like “streamlining” voir dire. This critical portion of trial is already so “streamlined” in some courts as to be essentially meaningless. Also, I don’t like the idea of judges deciding which evidence or witnesses are “repetitive” and striking them just because the jury might get bored. Parties have the right to present their cases in the manner they think best, within the rules. If you put on a boring case, you’ll get verdicts that reflect that. Ultimately, people dodge jury duty for the same reason they don’t vote: a lack of civic engagement. No amount of home-bakes cookies is going to fix that.

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