COVID-19 Will Affect Jury Selection And Deliberations; Here’s How To Take Back Control

 Friday, August 7, 2020

 The CLM

Jury trials are gradually resuming even as the COVID-19 threat lingers and safety measures are enacted and evolve. In this unprecedented context, jury verdict risks have changed.

While particulars are fact and venue dependent, here is some broad guidance as to likely changes in the dynamics of jury selection and jury deliberations, highlighting areas of greatest risk and recommended steps to address them.

Jury pools will likely skew noticeably younger and whiter than before, with somewhat more males and conservatives. Several recent national surveys converge in this direction, with views on the seriousness of COVID-19 a strong underlying factor.

Venires will mostly be comprised of Generation X (ages 40-55), millennials (ages 24-39), and a smaller but ever-increasing proportion of Generation Z jurors (ages 18-23).

Data show that, relative to older generations, Generation Z and millennials are accustomed to learning in shorter bursts and through multimedia formats.