The San Diego District Attorney is urging court officials to fix a flaw in how jurors are summoned that apparently causes fewer Latinos to be called for jury service than there should be, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Attorneys for a man facing the death penalty have maintained for more than a year that the system is flawed and does not draw in a legally sufficient cross-section of county residents.
While 45 percent of eligible jurors live in what is called the central judicial district, the court system draws 70 percent of jurors to the downtown courts from that district. This results in fewer summonses being sent to other districts that have large populations of jury-eligible Latinos, Rodriguez said. A defendant is entitled to a jury that is randomly selected and fairly reflects the community at large. Last year, a monthlong survey of those who showed up for jury service showed that 9.4 percent were Latino. An analysis by a defense statistician said the expected jury-eligible Latino representation would be 19 percent.