February 19, 2019

Bradley Bill to Ensure Diversity in Juries Advances

State Senator Dennis Bradley’s (D-Bridgeport) proposed legislation to ensure juries are racially and ethnically diverse advanced in the Judiciary Committee. There will be formal language developed for the bill.

“Racially and ethnically diverse juries work,” said Sen. Bradley. “They bring diverse perspectives and viewpoints which are necessary to ensure justice is served fairly.”

If passed, Senate Bill No. 344, “AN ACT ENSURING DIVERSITY IN THE SELECTION OF A JURY PANEL,” will amend section 51-222a of the general statutes to require the jury administrator to ensure the final list of prospective jurors is racially and ethnically diverse.

According to a study conducted by Samuel Sommers, a PHD at Tufts University, racially and ethnically diverse juries make better decisions. The study concluded when white jurors interact with a diverse group, they apply a more careful and systematic approach to evaluating evidence which could trigger racial biases. According to the study, racial disparities in the justice system disproportionally affect blacks.

“The justice system should work equally for all of us,” said Sen. Bradley. “When we can identify an area where it may not be, we must act. This legislation will not only produce juries which make more thoughtful decisions, but will ensure equity in how the courtroom looks and fairness in how justice is disseminated.”