Jun 6th 2019

Racial bias in jury selection is harmful, wide-spread, and very difficult to catch. When challenged, lawyers can say almost anything to get rid of a prospective juror they don’t want. The result, studies have shown, are juries that are stacked with white jurors.

Courts are often not subject to public records laws, and the parts that are can be stingy with records. So how can defendants, journalists, and the public get creative when it comes to investigating the system and its effects?

Data reporter Will Craft leads our 111th Public Newsroom. He’ll talk about how In The Dark, an APM Reports podcast, investigated jury selection in Mississippi to reveal the stark disparities in how the district attorney treated jurors of different races over his 26-year tenure.

Because prosecutors are only a small part of jury selection, we’ll also talk about the process of choosing jurors from start to finish, and how that can lead to disenfranchisement and skewed juries. Craft will cover the system as a whole, and share how creative approaches to covering juries can help us all understand how they might be failing to uphold their constitutional promises.

City Bureau’s #PublicNewsroom is a series of free, weekly workshops and discussions aimed at building trust between journalists and the communities they serve while shaping a more inclusive newsroom.

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