Discrimination is often associated with workplace issues or arrest issues, but it can happen anywhere. One place individuals may be surprised to learn where discrimination also takes place is with jury selection.
We know that discrimination is the practice of someone being treated unfairly compared to others. The Constitution of the United States guarantees that all people will receive equal protection under the law. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as people are sometimes discriminated against because of their race, religion, gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
Regarding jury selection, someone can be excluded as a juror due to one of the above factors. As prosecutors and defense attorneys select jurors, they may inadvertently (or on the other hand, make it obvious) that they are not choosing a juror due to the juror’s color of skin, age, or other protected characteristics.
A prosecutor or defending attorney has an unlimited number of “cause” challenges. A “cause” challenge is when a lawyer believes that a potential juror would not be able to reach a fair verdict. Discrimination, or not choosing a potential juror because of that person’s physical or emotional characteristics, does not qualify as a “cause” challenge.
Lawyers also have a limited number of challenges deemed “imperative.” An “imperative” challenge is when a lawyer does not have to give any reason on why they do not want to select a juror. This could mean an attorney doesn’t choose someone based on discriminatory grounds.
What Can Be Done About Jury Selection Discrimination?
If you believe you were discriminated against during jury selection, you should contact an experienced discrimination attorney right away. The team at HDR Law can help you understand your rights and options. We can also help you file a complaint with the proper authorities.