News

  • September 19, 2019 - Harrisburg: The Commission’s Quarterly Meeting took place. Mark Bergstrom, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, and Dr. Randal Pinkett and Pete York of BCT Partners provided presentations on risk assessment tools.
  • October 3, 2019 - Philadelphia: Executive Director McCormick spoke at the PBA Minority Attorney Conference on jury diversity and use of Batson challenges.
  • October 23, 2019 - Harrisburg: The Commission held a meeting with its Work Group on Implicit Bias Training for Law School Faculty and Students.
  • October 24, 2019 - Hershey: Executive Director McCormick presented on sexual harassment training for the PACLE Board and CLE providers.
  • November 1, 2019 - Bedford Springs: Executive Director McCormick attended the PBA Women in the Profession retreat focused on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

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Upcoming Events

  • February 21, 2020 - Washington, PA: Executive Director McCormick will present a training on sexual harassment for the Washington County Bar Association.
  • March 19, 2020 - Harrisburg: The Commission will hold its next Quarterly Meeting.

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, Esquire (Chair)
  • Judge Stephanie A. Domitrovich
  • Will Gonzalez, Esquire
  • Paula Hannaford, Esquire
  • Judge Thomas King Kistler
  • Patrick Martin
  • Rick Pierce
  • Daniel Rendine
  • Leonard J. Rivera, Esquire
  • Rhonda Hill Wilson, Esquire

 

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.