WNPR

Making a More Perfect Jury

Jan 29, 2015

You probably think of yourself as a voter. Maybe, in one way or another, you think of yourself as a public servant. But do you think of yourself as a juror?

More than one in seven Americans will be called for jury duty this year. More than one in three of us will actually serve on a jury in our lifetimes.

The fact is that almost every one of us is, almost all of the time, a potential juror. We’re all just one dreaded summons in the mailbox away from deciding matters of life or liberty or property for another person.

It’s just a trick of luck and geography that kept you off a grand jury in Ferguson, MO, last year. It’s just probability and proximity that’s keeping you out of the jury selection process in Boston right now.

But we’re mostly all amateurs, laypeople, when it comes to the law and criminal justice. Are we ready to serve? Would we be good jurors? How many of us would even want to serve?

Today, a look at our jury system—in Connecticut, and in America.

GUESTS:

  • Andrew Ferguson is the author of Why Jury Duty Matters and an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of the District of Columbia.
  • Tejas Bhatt is Assistant Public Defender for the New Haven Judicial District.
  • David Boeri is the Senior Reporter for WBUR covering the Tsarnaev trial in Boston.
  • Bonnie Craig served on a federal grand jury in New Haven for two years.

John Dankosky, Lydia Brown, and Tucker Ives contributed to this show.