News

  • October 4, 2019 - Harrisburg: Executive Director McCormick will serve as a panelist on “Best Practices Regarding Batson Challenges and other Jury Diversity Issues” during the PBA Minority Attorney Conference.
  • August 22, 2019 - Pittsburgh: Executive Director McCormick will conduct a presentation on “Cultural Competence/and Implicit Bias in the Justice System” at Duquesne University Law School’s Orientation Program for incoming first-year law students.
  • June 7, 2019 - Harrisburg: Executive Director McCormick conducted a presentation on ‘Implicit Bias in the Criminal Justice System” at the PBI Criminal Justice Symposium.
  • June 3, 2019: the Interbranch Commission submitted Comments to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Rules of Evidence in support of the Committee’s proposal to add a new comment to Rule 401 of the PA Rules of Evidence, indicating that evidence of a person’s immigration status, among other characteristics, is irrelevant and inadmissible.
  • May 20, 2019 - Miami, Florida: On behalf of the Pennsylvania Courts, Executive Director McCormick presented the Pennsylvania State Report on Racial and Ethnic Fairness Initiatives at the Annual Conference of the National Consortium for Racial and Ethnic Fairness
  • May 16-17, 2019: On behalf of the Civil and Equal Rights Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA), Executive Director McCormick presented a Resolution to the PBA’s House of Delegates and Board of Governors. More >>
  • April 4-5, 2019 - Philadelphia: Executive Director Lisette McCormick moderated a panel presentation on “Protecting Your Non-Citizen Clients’ Rights in the Courtroom” at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) Civil Rights Symposium.

More News >>

Upcoming Events

  • September 19, 2019 - Harrisburg: The Interbranch Commission will hold its Quarterly Meeting.

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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.