The Right to have a Jury Comprised of a Cross Section of the Community

In a criminal case, a defendant’s right to a jury trial includes the right to a trial by a jury drawn from a representative cross-section of the community. This guarantee requires that the pools from which juries are drawn must not systematically exclude distinctive (cognizable) groups in the community. The “representative cross-section” requirement ensures the parties a trial by a jury selected without systematic or intentional exclusion of “cognizable” groups of people, i.e., groups defined by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.  This requirement is designed to protect the right to a trial by an impartial jury that is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and by Cal Const art I, Although the court’s compliance with the representative cross-section requirement is most often raised as an issue in criminal cases, the need for compliance applies with equal force in DUI and civil cases.

According to one California City DUI Attorney, the procedure for raising the issue of whether the jury pool complies with the representative cross-section requirement is governed by CCP §225(a), the procedure for challenging the panel for cause. The motion must be made to the Court before the jury is sworn, but it is usually raised in limine before the panel is assigned to your court.  A Judge is not required to grant a continuance to allow the defendant time to file a written motion except in an unusual case, such as when new information concerning the selection of potential jurors becomes available during voir dire.  In drunk driving cases in particular it is imperative to get jurors that have a good deal of life experience, drinkers and non-drinkers.

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