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Make Jury Duty Cool

And Take The Pledge

AFTP Foundation Jury Duty Initiative:

  • Educate MILLIONS OF PEOPLE  the importance and need to serve as a juror.

  • Use social media to drive awareness.

  • Survey, write policy, and create solutions to why people don’t serve.

Facts About Jury Duty

  • The 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by jury.

  • Not all trials have a jury. Judges usually try smaller cases. Juries try larger civil cases and criminal cases where the punishment is longer than 6 months.

  • Over 90% of all jury trials in the world happen in the United States.

  • Not all juries consist of 12 people. The number of jury members depends on the US state and the severity of the case

  • 1898, Utah became the first state to allow women to serve on juries. By 1927, only 19 states allowed women to serve.In

  • People try various strategies to get out of jury duty, including dressing up as a prisoner, mentioning a friendship with Jeffrey Dahmer, dressing up as Jesus Christ, and even writing a fake doctor's note.

  • In 1955, an African American teenager named Emmett Till was killed for allegedly flirting with a white female. The all-white jury acquitted the murderers.

  • The first woman to receive a jury summons was a schoolteacher named Eliza Stewart in 1870 in the Wyoming Territory, which had just granted women the right to vote. According to the March 22, 1919, edition of The Woman Citizen magazine, Laramie at the time was beset by a "mass of depraved humanity and desperate characters," and the town's menfolk asked the women to serve on juries to help "put down the anarchy."

  • One of Jim Crow's most powerful weapons was the all-white jury. In the Scottsboro Boys case, nine young African-Americans were charged in 1931 with raping two white women, a capital offense in Alabama. Through multiple trials and despite one of the women admitting she made it all up, juries found the defendants guilty. Even after the Supreme Court, in Norris v. Alabama, overturned Clarence Norris' conviction on the grounds that all-white juries were unconstitutional, Norris was found guilty at another jury trial riddled with suspect testimony. He ended up serving 15 years in prison for a crime that never happened. He won a pardon in 1976.

  • For about 50 cents, a Chicagoan in the '30s could legally buy his way onto a "jury." A section of the Wrigley Field bleachers jutting into left center field was nicknamed "the jury box" because it looked like one. Unlike today, the Cubs of the '30s acquitted themselves quite well on the field.


Why This Is Important

We have to take action to ensure that our fellow peers receive a fair trial. There are and have been times where great injustice has occured within the jury and court systems. Over our history and even today we face systematic racism. This can begin with a victim of police brutality. And then can continue even further into the trials.

Take The Pledge

Take the pledge below to attend jury duty. If you are taking the pledge as a company, please scroll down to the company pledge form.

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