Archive for June, 2016

Race & Jury Selection in Canada

posted by Judge_Burke @ 14:30 PM
June 6, 2016

Regina Schuller and Caroline Erentzen (York University – Department of Psychology and York University, Department of Psychology, Students) have posted The Challenge for Cause Procedure in Canadian Criminal Law (Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2016) on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

There is a longstanding presumption in Canadian law that jurors will act impartially in carrying out their duties, but this presumption may be challenged when the defendant is a member of a racialized minority group. In those circumstances, the defence may initiate a challenge for cause procedure, wherein potential jurors are questioned about their ability to set aside any racial prejudice and judge the case solely on the evidence. Although the challenge for cause procedure has been in place for some time, little attention has been given to the process and whether it in fact effectively screens for juror bias. The present article provides an overview of the challenge for cause procedure, with particular attention to race-based challenges, as well as psychological research assessing the effectiveness of the procedure. Reference is made to the authors’ analysis of actual jury selection proceedings in which the challenge procedure was invoked. The data revealed that, although only a small percentage of potential jurors admitted to potential prejudice in open court, many more were excluded by triers and counsel.

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Is There Science Behind Drug Courts Who Ban Medication?

posted by Judge_Burke @ 14:30 PM
June 3, 2016

Barbara Teresa Andraka-Christou has posted Essay: Improving Drug Courts Through Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

Empirical studies demonstrate that medication-assisted treatment (including the use of methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone) is more effective at preventing opiate addiction relapse and recidivism than regular attendance at twelve-step groups or mental health counseling alone. However, less than half of drug courts provide access to medication-assisted treatment, and half of drug courts explicitly ban their use.

This essay explores why drug courts fail to provide the most medically advanced forms of drug addiction treatment. Reasons include the following: a cultural preference for abstinence-only treatments; belief that addiction medication is “immoral”; hyperbolic fear of the illegal diversion of medication; cultural loyalty to twelve-step groups; preference for morality-based approaches; and lack of knowledge about addiction treatment medications.

Finally, the essay proposes approaches for expanding medication-assisted treatment in drug courts. Proposals include increased judicial deference to physicians, collaboration between drug courts and community health providers, state funding incentives, enhanced training and educational opportunities for drug court staff, and incorporation of treatment methods in drug court accreditation.

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Race and Jury Selection

posted by Judge_Burke @ 14:30 PM
June 2, 2016

In a 7-1 vote, the United States Supreme Court overturned the conviction and death sentence of a black Georgia man who was tried 30 years ago by an all-white jury in a case involving the murder of two white women.  The Court found that prosecutors purposely excluded black jurors.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion and said that the prosecution’s multiple “neutral” explanations—one juror was too young, another worked with the mentally ill and thus might be soft-hearted, another said she wasn’t familiar with the scene of the crime but had once lived a few blocks away, and one had a son who had been arrested for stealing hubcaps and thus might be sympathetic to a murderous burglar—were false. Justice Roberts offered this assessment:  “Nonsense . . . the focus on race in the prosecution’s file plainly demonstrates a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury.”

A 2010 Equal Justice Initiative study found that, in counties across the country, prosecutors dismissed nearly 80 percent of African Americans qualified for jury service during the seating process.  A 2012 Duke University study of non-capital cases found that all-white juries convict black defendants 16 percent more often than white defendants. And what’s more, the same study found, when juries included just one black person, 71 percent of black defendants and 73 percent of white defendants were convicted.

You can read the ruling in this case, Foster v. Chatman, and a timely profile of Stephen Bright, the lawyer who brought the case, in Atlanta Magazine.

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