Divided MI Court Bans Affirmative Action In Jury Choices


Michigan judges may not use a person’s race, gender, religion, or nationality to select jurors under a rule approved by the Michigan Supreme Court on a 4-3 vote, reports the Detroit News. It follows efforts by some Wayne County (Detroit) judges to have more racially representative juries. A study ordered by Chief Judge Mary Beth Kelly found that 27 percent of those who report for jury duty in the county are black, compared with 42 percent of the population. The order said discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex when selecting a jury “is prohibited even in cases where the purpose would be to achieve balanced representation.”

Several groups opposed the rule change, including the Michigan Judges Association and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Those groups said it was unnecessary, vague and could cause frequent legal challenges, said a dissenting judge. Linda Parker, director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, said the rule “will do nothing to enhance the constitutional guarantee of a jury of one’s peers. In light of the increasing racial and ethnic diversity in Michigan, our residents need procedural safeguards to protect this guarantee, not just vague and ambiguous language.”

Link: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051203/POLITICS/512030343

Comments are closed.