Think504: Orleans Public Defender Launches Juror Project

"What if the most policed communities had more leverage in deciding the outcome of criminal cases? After three years of defending some of poorest people in New Orleans, the most incarcerated city on earth, local public defender Will Snowden launched the Juror Project; an initiative aimed to diversify jury panels in terms of race, thought, experience, socioeconomic background, and more. “We as a community should be involved with who we think should be sent to prison and a way to be involved is through jury service” says Snowden, “the studies show with more diversity there’s more fairness, there’s longer deliberation, more questions are going to be asked [and] things like implicit biases and racial anxiety are going to be addressed.” This project also comes in the midst of the Supreme Court considering tightening rules around racial discrimination in jury selection for the first time in 30 years."