The Interbranch Commission implements recommendations from the Report of The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in The Justice System. View the Report
Chaired by Lynn Marks, Esq., the Jury Service Committee's overarching priority has been to increase diversity and public participation on juries throughout the Commonwealth. To this end, the Committee has worked to pass new legislation, developed standardized statewide procedures for jury selection, submitted a plan to Pennsylvania's Supreme Court outlining the key steps necessary for implementing those procedures, and conducted seminars to assist judges and court administrators with the selection of juries in their districts.
The Committee played a vital role in the passage of Act 37, which established a statewide list of potential jurors from four state agency lists, effectively broadening the number of source lists used in creating jury pools. The Committee continues to monitor the use of the new statewide list by judicial districts around the Commonwealth, and is working with the AOPC to address any problems the districts have identified with using the list.
The Committee has had some success in its effort to implement the recommendations from its report, Suggested Standardized Procedures for Jury Selection in Pennsylvania Courts. The Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee modeled its newly drafted rule governing changes in the voir dire process on the Committee's recommendations in its report. The Committee has begun working with regional associations for trial attorneys to implement other recommendations from its report as well.
More recently, the Committee researched and proposed model jury instructions on jury bias and juror behavior during deliberations, in response to a complaint by a Pennsylvania juror of bias and mistreatment by fellow jurors during performance of her jury duty. Those instructions have been submitted to the Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions for consideration and use by judicial districts across the state. The Committee's proposed jury instructions are set forth at right, under Reports.
The Committee's priorities are based on the Final Report of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in the Justice System. For detailed information on the study's findings and priorities as they relate to jury diversity, please see Chapters Two and Three of the Report.