Most law firms and indeed the legal system are full of devoid of negative stereotypes. These misguided attitudes are present in the law profession and makes it hard for racial minority groups to serve in the law field something which further puts minorities at a disadvantage because it affects the hiring decisions by law firms. There is a need for affirmative action which will result into more minority groups admitted into law schools, hence increasing chances of a more balanced legal possession.
Peremptory challenges has for a very longtime raised questions as to whether it is not often than not misused by the trial in unfair elimination of jurys from the racial minorities. According to, Jere, and Morehead, (1994) peremptory challenge serves four main purposes. To ensure confidence of the litigants in the jury and view the jury as fair. To promote a fair and challenging voir dire. To ensure impartiality on both sides. To ensure the jury panel is centrist and able to achieve unanimity
There are many instances when the juries are ‘challenged’ for no good causes although genuine concerns should form the rationale for a peremptory challenge. Misuse of the provision has raised concerns on the merits of the peremptory challenge. The biggest problem lies in the fact that peremptory challenges other than being based on actual causes are rather based on negative stereotypes. When a peremptory challenge is carried out on basis of the social background of the jury, this affects the credibility of the jury panel and automatically all sides are likely to claim foul play.
The rationale of the peremptory challenge is the principle of a uniform sample and results geared at affording equal and fair representation which takes care of both the interests of the racial minority groups and majority groups. The use of peremptory challenge has raised questions as to whether it does not lead to discrimination in the legal systems. It has in the past, occurred that excluding minority juries from a trial could obviously put at disadvantages the minority defendants (Brown, 1931).
Outlawing peremptory challenge from the courts does not hold the solution to the problem of the under representation of racial minorities system but rather the inclusion of minority procedures and systems which brings checks and balances to the legal systems. The other problem with peremptory challenge is that it denies the ‘challenged’ jury the right to be involved in the criminal justice system (Erickson, & Bowne, 1996). More often than not, lawyers are known to use peremptory challenges to have only juries participate in the trial who may favor their side.
Peremptory challenges are defended by its proponents since it makes sure that the parties which face the jury panel are judged only according to available evidence but not in any other unfair way (Barker, 1995). Although, the peremptory challenge is viewed by many as an attempt towards “jury shaping” (Erickson, & Bowne, 1996), it becomes hard to control or regulate since the peremptory challenge does not require the lawyer to explain his/ her reasons for the ‘challenge’.
The process is further complicated as some view it as the only hope of providing fairness in the process of legal prosecution while others see it as potentially being used unfairly by biased lawyers resulting into two extreme views. The peremptory challenge is also praised for preventing a situation where by any of the sides’ challenges the trial and the decision of jury’s on grounds of unfairness. Conclusion The under representation in the legal system in U.
S is a problem which needs to be solved. The situation has caused the suffering of racial minority communities. This situation likely to continue until either the situation is corrected or mechanisms are put in place to control factors which work against the racial minority in pursuance of careers in law. As for the peremptory challenge, it should be abolished altogether as it clearly works against the minority communities.
Barker, Emily. (2005). True Colors: not all diversity is created equal. Minority Law Journal. Diversity Scorecard. Bourdieu, (1973). Cultural Reproduction and social Reproduction. Knowledge, Education and cultural Change. Paper in sociology of Education. Richard Brown London: Transfolk. Brown, W. (1931). Racial inequality: fact or myth. The journal of Negro History. Vol. 16. No 1. Erickson, Bowne, H. (1996). Culture, Class and Connections. American Journal of sociology. Vol. 102. No 1. http://www.law.uh.edu/Hernandez50/ClareSheridan.pdf