Judge Birmingham is beginning a preliminary study to identify “trends related to race, gender, age and ZIP code of every juror seated in his court” from 2015 – 2020, called Dallas Deselection, a “worthy project that could make the process more transparent for the public” according to this editorial from the Dallas Morning News. Judge Birmingham adds, “Any time you can get people interested in what’s happening at the criminal courthouse, I’m in.” Read more about Dallas Deselection here:
Since taking the bench, Judge Birmingham has presided over approximately 100 jury trials, the number, charge and verdicts of which you can interact with in the report below. 5 law students from the Texas A&M School of Law in Fort Worth have agreed to work on the project pro bono, assisting with research and data input. Based on the number of trials and usual number of potential jurors for each, Judge Birmingham estimates that between 2015 and 2020, some 6,000 to 7,000 jurors were either struck by the State, Defense, Challenged for Cause, were seated as jurors, or were numerically eliminated in his court. In addition to the challenges for cause and peremptory challenges, the data includes the race, age, gender and zip code of each potential juror. Otherwise, juror anonymity will be strictly maintained.
Judge Birmingham hopes to answer some of these questions: Were certain groups struck disproportionately by either the State or Defense? What about jurors from a certain zip code? Were members of one race or gender more likely to be disqualified from jury service as a matter of law? And if so, is it because they have a bias for or against law enforcement, a defendant, or the criminal justice system as a whole? Is there a group that disproportionately holds 5th amendment silence against a criminal defendant, or can’t presume a defendant innocent? What does the data say about a group’s feelings on the appropriate range of punishment?
Upon completion of “Dallas Deselection,” Judge Birmingham will share his findings in report readily accessible to the public. He will also make all of the data available for any academic or researcher interested in conducting further analysis.
If you are interested in discussing the report, please contact Judge Birmingham at firstname.lastname@example.org.