The racial and ethnic diversity of juries in the region will be the focus of an upcoming community forum featuring senior members of the Justice System in the Eastern District of Michigan, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced on June 4.
The forum, titled “Inclusion and the Justice System: Why Jury Diversity Matters,” is open to the public and will take place Wednesday, June 27, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD), Downtown Campus, in the Multipurpose Room 236, hosted by the WCCCD Global Conversation Speaker Series.
The forum panel, which will be moderated by Bankole Thompson, editor of the Michigan Chronicle, will feature Chief Federal Judge Gerald Rosen of the U.S. District Court, Federal Judges Victoria Roberts and Denise Page Hood, U.S. Attorney McQuade, Chief Federal Defender Miriam Siefer and attorney and Rev. Bertram Marks of First Community Baptist Church, who is a member of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. The session will include a period for questions and answers from the public. A reception will follow immediately after the forum.
The purpose of the forum is to educate citizens about the challenges and strategies in the Eastern District of Michigan to seat juries that represent the broad spectrum of citizens of the district.
Because racial and ethnic minorities have been historically underrepresented as jurors in trials held in federal and state courts in Southeast Michigan, Chief Judge Rosen formed a committee, led by Judge Denise Page Hood and Judge Victoria Roberts, to explore new ways to increase minority participation. The committee’s work has been documented in a report which includes recommendations to achieve a more diverse pool of jurors.
“Diverse representation on juries is important to public confidence in the criminal justice system,” McQuade said.