General Question

BronxLens's avatar

On O.J. Simpson's case, in which he was found guilty, of the 9 female jurors none were black. How many of the 12 jurors needed to be representative of his peers?

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19 Answers

Bri_L's avatar

I believe they are determined by the lawyers aren’t they?

marinelife's avatar

Race is not considered a factor in jury make-up. Each side has a certain number of peremptory challenges that allow them to remove jurors for any reason. It was a jury of his peers: American adults.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

It doesn’t work like that. It’s supposed to be that everyone is equal. All the potential jurors are considered his peers, whether they be black, white, hispanic, male, or female.

The “jury pool” is a list of people randomly selected because they hadn’t done jury duty in a while, they were available for the duration of the trial, and they chose to participate.

After that, both sets of lawyers, plaintiff and defense, get to “voire dire” the jury pool, which is basically just making sure each person will give their side a fair chance. The lawyers ask each person questions about if they’ve been following the case in the media, if they’ve already made up their minds about it, and if they would have any trouble giving fair judgement.

Each side may reject any juror, and they go through this random list until they have 12 that have been accepted by both sides.

Bri_L's avatar

@ La chica – I was typing that out and spent the last 8 min trying to figure out how to spell voire dire

La_chica_gomela's avatar

that’s the thing about dictionaries. you can only look something up if you already know how to spell it!

Bri_L's avatar

@ la chica – lurve to you!

BronxLens's avatar

Thank u all for setting me straight. Viva la collective! =)

La_chica_gomela's avatar

no problem. it’s one of my favorite topics.

JackAdams's avatar

There is only one race on the planet Earth.

It is the HUMAN race.

Bri_L's avatar

I am proud to say I came in third!

DREW_R's avatar

All 12 by the Constitution. Are you saying that the 12 women were not his peers?

Kayak8's avatar

Actually, I do recollect a case (looking for it maybe BATSON v. KENTUCKY, 476 U.S. 79 (1986)) where the attorney made the arguement that an African American man whose trial was in front of an all white jury, was not tried by his peers.


The phrase “a jury of one’s peers” is a part of the American lexicon, yet surprisingly it nowhere appears in the Constitution. The Sixth Amendment simply guarantees the right to “a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” Some of the most significant decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court controlling jury composition, moreover, have been based not on the Sixth Amendment but on the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws. ”

Who sits on the jury, of course, can have a great impact on the outcome of a trial. Yet until very recently, the pool of potential jurors called did not reflect the diversity of their communities, and prospective jurors were dismissed from jury service because of their race, gender, class, or even religion. Today the federal courts and most state courts have adopted outreach strategies to increase the total number of prospective jurors and to create jury pools which reflect more accurately their communities. The U.S. Supreme Court and various state courts also have made it harder for prospective jurors to be dropped simply because of a group to which they belong.

What is “a jury of one’s peers” and how does it affect juries, those they judge and the society they serve? This section of “The American Jury” is devoted to lessons and resource relating to the composition of juries and what rules must be followed in creating a jury of one’s peers

Kayak8's avatar


1. The principle announced in Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303 , that a State denies a black defendant equal protection when it puts him on trial before a jury from which members of his race have been purposefully excluded, is reaffirmed. Pp. 84–89.

(a) A defendant has no right to a petit jury composed in whole or in part of persons of his own race. Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 305 . However, the Equal Protection Clause guarantees the defendant that the State will not exclude members of his race from the jury venire on account of race, or on the false assumption that members of his race as a group are not qualified to serve as jurors. By denying a person participation in jury service on account of his race, the State also unconstitutionally discriminates against the excluded juror. Moreover, selection procedures that purposefully exclude black persons from juries undermine public confidence in the fairness of our system of justice. Pp. 85–88.

(b) The same equal protection principles as are applied to determine whether there is discrimination in selecting the venire also govern the State’s use of peremptory challenges to strike individual jurors from the petit jury. Although a prosecutor ordinarily is entitled to exercise [476 U.S. 79, 80] peremptory challenges for any reason, as long as that reason is related to his view concerning the outcome of the case to be tried, the Equal Protection Clause forbids the prosecutor to challenge potential jurors solely on account of their race or on the assumption that black jurors as a group will be unable impartially to consider the State’s case against a black defendant. Pp. 88–89.

2. The portion of Swain v. Alabama, supra, concerning the evidentiary burden placed on a defendant who claims that he has been denied equal protection through the State’s discriminatory use of peremptory challenges is rejected. In Swain, it was held that a black defendant could make out a prima facie case of purposeful discrimination on proof that the peremptory challenge system as a whole was being perverted. Evidence offered by the defendant in Swain did not meet that standard because it did not demonstrate the circumstances under which prosecutors in the jurisdiction were responsible for striking black jurors beyond the facts of the defendant’s case. This evidentiary formulation is inconsistent with equal protection standards subsequently developed in decisions relating to selection of the jury venire. A defendant may make a prima facie showing of purposeful racial discrimination in selection of the venire by relying solely on the facts concerning its selection in his case. Pp. 89–96.

Trillian's avatar

Why do you consider color to be a factor in whether or not two people are peers? It seems to me like Mr. Simpson would have a lot more in common with a 40 year old white male who plays sports and has an annual income over half a million than your average black 20 – 30 year old who makes less than thirty thousand a year. Demographics cover a lot more than race.

Nullo's avatar

In a properly enlightened society, melanin levels would have no bearing on who is which peer.

Strauss's avatar

Well, I have long observed that our society, (generally speaking) is neither enlightened or proper.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Zero. There is no statement about “peers” in the constitution. You simply have the right to a speedy trial by jury via the Sixth Amendment.

If a jury is assembled with a purpose of discriminating based on race, that is certainly an issue to ride to an appeal.

kritiper's avatar

His peers must be people of no particular skin color, and have no bias towards anyone of any color. To try to select people of the same skin color would be racist.

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