Fair Representation on Juries in the Eastern District of Michigan: Analyzing Past Efforts and Recommending Future Action

This Note builds on past recommendations to reform jury selection systems to make juries more representative of the community. Juries representing a fair cross section of the community are both a statutory and constitutional requirement, as well as a policy goal. How a judicial district designs and implements its jury selection system is important to meeting this requirement.

Part I of this Note analyzes the history and development of the representativeness interest on juries, explains how the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan attempted to meet this interest in the 1980s and 1990s, and reports and addresses the current demographic information of jurors at two stages of the Eastern District’s selection system. Part II comments on prior proposals for reform of the jury selection system, and makes three proposals for reform: (1) improving the source lists from which jurors are drawn; (2) improving the jury questionnaire; and (3) if still necessary, increasing the representation levels of underrepresented groups on petit juries by decreasing their representation on grand juries. Part III analyzes potential constitutional and practical objections to the grand jury/petit jury reform.