News

  • August 20, 2018 - Pittsburgh: Executive Director McCormick conducted a training on implicit bias in legal decision making for the Allegheny County Bar Association.
  • August 14, 2018 - Philadelphia: the Commission held a meeting with newly-elected DA Larry Krasner to discuss death penalty studies, reforming pre-trial detention and legal financial obligations, and immigration issues. In attendance were Co-Chairs Winkelman and Hill Wilson, Jury Committee Chair Marks, Executive Director McCormick, Robert Listenbee and Judge Carolyn Temin.
  • July 27, 2018 - Philadelphia: Executive Director McCormick conducted a training for the District Attorney’s Office on language access and immigration issues in state courts.
  • June 21, 2018 – Philadelphia: Executive Director McCormick attended the second meeting of the Federal Jury Diversity Initiative.

More News >>

Upcoming Events

  • October 1, 2018 - The Pennsylvania Bar Association Minority Bar Committee is holding its Fall Conference.
  • October 17-18, 2018 - The Pennsylvanian Bar Association is holding its 10th Annual Diversity Summit focused on Minority and Women Lawyers’ Business Development.
  • October 25, 2018 – The Commission’s next Quarterly Meeting will be held in Harrisburg.
  • November 10, 2018 – Executive Director McCormick will speak on sexual harassment and assault at the fall retreat of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession.

More Events >>

view the report

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

Members

  • Lynn Marks, Esq. (Chair)
  • Charles Cunningham, Esq.
  • Judge Stephanie A. Domitrovich
  • Paula Hannaford, Esq.
  • Gregory Hurley, Esq.
  • Judge Thomas
    King Kistler
  • Patrick Martin
  • Rick Pierce
  • E. Marie Queen
  • Daniel Rendine
  • Leonard J. Rivera, Esq.
  • Rhonda Hill Wilson, Esq.

 

Reports

 

Jury Service Committee

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. The Committee’s current initiatives include:

  • expanding the use of the statewide juror list;
  • educating judges and lawyers on best practices in jury selection;
  • improving standardized juror instructions;
  • and working directly with judicial districts to improve juror outreach and diversity.

Statewide Juror List: 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 is collaborating with the four executive agency list contributors to assist the AOPC with removing duplicate names from the statewide juror list.

Education and Training: The Committee has published two reports that form the basis for many of its training efforts: Suggested Standardized Procedures for Jury Selection in Pennsylvania Courts and Best Practices for Jury Selection and Service in PA. The Committee has also partnered with Lambda Legal to address anti-GLBT bias, as well as racial and ethnic bias, in jury selection. Finally, the Committee is working with the Interpreter Services Committee to promote education in limited English proficiency (“LEP”) communities about the language fluency requirements for serving on juries, in order to better inform LEP individuals’ decision to exclude themselves from service.

Model Jury Instructions: 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 were 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.

Judicial District Collaboration: In March 2018, with the assistance of the Commission, the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, produced a report, FJD Juror Participation Initiative, which offers recommendations to address low juror turnout and a lack of community engagement in the district. The Committee plans to use the recommendations laid out in this report to help other judicial districts address similar issues. The Committee is currently assisting the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with a similar initiative.

The Committee's past initiatives include:
  • working with the Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee to draft rules to improve the voir dire process;
  • collaborating with local judicial districts to collect demographic data on jurors;
  • other initiatives contained within Chapters Two and Three of the Final Report of the Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System.