Jury selection plays a significant role in the criminal justice system. Their primary role of the jury lies within the courtroom setting during criminal proceedings. These individuals are charged with the responsibility of hearing testimony from the prosecution and defense and also evaluating any evidence brought before the court. Their understanding and interpretation of all testimony and evidence greatly determine the final result of the trial, the verdict. In many circumstances a jury may dismiss the testimony and evidence and inject their own personal opinions regarding the law. This is known as jury nullification. Jury nullification permits juries to acquit even when the facts of the case suggest they convict, and thus enables citizens to play a more active role in determining justice and what or whom should be punished (McNamara & Burns, 2009, p. 265).
Influence of Ethnicity within the Courtroom
An individual’s race or ethnicity can have a substantial influence on courtroom proceedings and judicial practices. Many people, regardless of their own race, have preconceived notions of individuals that are charged with a criminal offense. Much of these preconceptions are fueled by the media, especially when these cases involve a white victim and minority perpetrator or vice versa. The media tends to glamorize and indulge these types of crimes because they equate to good ratings. Often times this media coverage finds its way into the courtroom and can have a negative effect on the victim, defendant, society, or all three.
Arguments Surrounding Ethnicity-Based Jury Nullification
The use of ethnicity-based jury nullification is a controversial topic within the judicial system. Many believe that the practice allows for a fair and just trial in respect to minorities while others believe that it undermines what the judicial system stands for which is equal and fair treatment of all persons in respect to the law.
Those in favor of...