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Reeder & Brown, P.C.
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Along with a criminal defendant’s right to remain silent, the right to have one’s case tried to a jury of “one’s peers” is one of the most important constitutional protections available for criminal defendants. This protection exists to help guarantee that a person is not convicted of a criminal offense through government overreach, but instead only upon evidence and testimony that convinces 12 individuals from the community of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Juries are Supposed to Represent a Cross-Section of the Local Community

In theory, the 12 people who decide a particular Illinois criminal case are supposed to represent a “cross-section” of the community. That is, the individuals who sit on a jury to hear a particular case should represent the races, socioeconomic backgrounds, and education levels (amongst others) of average citizens in the community. If the community has a predominantly minority population, one would expect that a jury would be comprised of predominately minority individuals. This does not always happen, however.

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