STACKING THE JURY IN GEORGIA
We have been informed by an alert correspondent of a likely
jury-rigging scheme in south Georgia. It may be that variants of
this kind of sleazy operation are common throughout the country.
If you are rarely or never called for jury duty despite being
registered to vote and licensed to drive, perhaps a little
digging around might yield some interesting information. If and
when jury-rigging can be identified in a local judicial district,
the press might be very interested in what you have uncovered.
Such information could be of great utility in promoting awareness
of FIJA, and could be used to rally excluded groups around the
issue of jury rights.
In Georgia, it appears that the local legal establishment
draws names for the jury pool from voters who have voted in the
Republican primary election. It is known that some people are
selected repeatedly in short periods of time, while others are
seldom selected--once in twenty years, for instance. In addition,
a secret list of jurors who have given guilty verdicts in the
past is maintained by the District Attorney. A local defense
attorney petitioned the court for a copy of that list because it
gave the D.A. an unfair advantage during jury selection, but the
judge refused to require the D.A. to release the list.
The question, of course, is are people being selected over
and over again for "hanging juries"? The D.A. could build an
impressive conviction record by doing this, but defendants'
rights to a fair trial are being shredded!
A local attorney points out that conviction-prone jurors are
the kind of people insurance companies love to have hear
personal-injury cases, and they tend to side with polluters
against environmentalists, and with the establishment against
civil rights plaintiffs. The Jury Commission is scrambling to
cover its tracks now that questions have been raised.