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"Race and the Jury" Topic of UC Riverside Panel Discussion


"Race and the Jury" Topic of UC Riverside Panel Discussion

(May 25, 2000)

ATTENTION: Legal affairs editors

RIVERSIDE, Calif., May 25 -- When a Latino gang member is on trial for murder, and the jury is made up of 12 white people, some defense attorneys have been known to sweat. A juror's background and life experiences can affect judgment. What, indeed, constitutes "a jury of peers" for each defendant?

From O.J. Simpson to murder trials pulled from today's headlines, race plays a crucial role in whether justice is done. Five legal and academic experts will discuss the subject in "Race and the Jury," a panel discussion scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, on the campus of the University of California, Riverside. Panelists are: Former California Attorney General Dan Lungren, now a professor of law at Chapman University in Orange County. He was a catalyst for change in the criminal justice system, playing a key role in the passage of the "Three Strikes" law.

Henry Ramsey, Jr., a California Superior Court judge from 1981 to 1991 and until 1996, the dean of the Howard University School of Law. A former faculty member at UC Berkeley Law School, Judge Ramsey is now an arbitrator, mediator and judicial consultant.

Laurie Levenson, an attorney who frequently served as an expert commentator during the O.J. Simpson trial. She is the author of "Change of Venue and the Role of the Criminal Jury." She is the William M. Rains Fellow at Loyola University Law School.

Ed Butler, a UCR sociologist whose court testimony and research played a key role in the 1984 California Supreme Court decision that jurors cannot be drawn from voter registration lists alone, because the practice tends to underrepresent minorities. He is the co-author of the 1993 book, "Race and the Jury: Racial Disenfranchisement and the Search for Justice."

Hiroshi Fukurai, associate professor of sociology at UC Santa Cruz, whose research touches on racial inequality and the American jury system. In addition to co-authoring "Race and the Jury," Fukurai is also the author of the forthcoming book: "Racialized Jury Box: Affirmative Action in Jury Selection and Racially Mixed Juries."

Moderator John Laursen, a professor of political science at UCR, holds a law degree from Harvard. He will lead panelists in a wide-ranging discussion on the relevance of race to the jury selection process, the origin of jury pools and jury psychology. Do current jury decisions really reflect the legitimate judgment of the community. And if they don't, what must be done?

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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