Date of this Version
According to the Minority and Justice Task Force Report (2003), “the majority of Nebraskans believe that it is important that juries reflect the racial and ethnic makeup of the community.” Preliminary data obtained as part of the Task Force’s inquiry into representation of minorities on petit juries call into question whether Nebraska juries are representative of their communities. This concern has prompted several statewide policy reforms that are designed to increase representation of minorities on juries regardless of whether there has been a problem in the State. The first reform involved regular refreshing of jury pool lists (LB 19 and LB 402). A second reform will provide insight into whether there actually is a problem: It provides the authority to conduct an analysis of the jury compilation process to determine to what extent (if any) minorities are structurally excluded from serving on juries (LB 105). These efforts are intended to address both the possibility of an actual problem and the fact that Nebraska’s minorities have less faith in the justice system and are more likely to perceive that minorities are underrepresented on juries. It was the concern about the trust and confidence in the system that prompted the Minority and Justice Implementation Committee to conduct at statewide campaign to promote jury service by everyone in Nebraska, with a special focus on, the state’s most diverse communities.