A thought-provoking look at the jury selection process in Canada in the context of its impact on Indigenous Peoples and their experiences in the criminal justice system.
As author Brian Manarin states in the Preface to Canadian Indigenous Peoples and Criminal Jury Trials: Remediating Inequities, “Indigenous Peoples are overrepresented in all aspects of the Canadian criminal justice system. Most dramatic are their rates of incarceration.” He goes on to explain that one possible way of reducing conviction and incarceration rates is to increase the fairness and effectiveness of the jury selection process. Manarin then proceeds to offer an analysis of that process by considering Canadian jurisprudence and comparing the experiences in this country to those in England and the United States.
Issues worth examining
This new book addresses three primary questions:
- Should potential jurors be disqualified due to their criminal antecedents and what is the impact of such a policy on Indigenous Peoples?
- Does the “challenge for cause” procedure work fairly and effectively for Indigenous Peoples when attempting to expose partiality?
- Is the “peremptory challenge” option neutral in its application or potentially discriminatory against Indigenous Peoples?
In researching these questions, Manarin presents a critical examination of the present doctrinal and policy positions that are in place in Canada regarding who may serve on a jury and how the petit jury is assembled in the Superior Courts across the land. In particular, he challenges the presumption that Canadians with criminal antecedents are unsuitable for jury duty against both a historical backdrop and the present-day reality that one in 10 Canadian citizens has a criminal record. In addition, jury selection methods and “challenge” mechanisms are exposed as functionally ineffective and open to unsettling forms of abuse.
Ultimately, Manarin strives to come to conclusions and offer recommendations that, at the very least, will generate further discussion and possible changes to the legislation governing jury selection in criminal trials.
A useful and insightful resource for:
- Superior Court judges and the appellate courts that review their decisions
- Criminal trial and appellate counsel
- University and college professors and students who are teaching and studying law, criminology, psychology, political science, philosophy, social work and Indigenous affairs
- Federal, provincial and territorial government representatives
- Law enforcement agencies
- Indigenous groups
Table of contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Context setting: The unique position and circumstances of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian society
Chapter 3: Should potential jurors be disqualified due to their criminal antecedents and what is the impact of such a policy on Indigenous Peoples?
Chapter 4: Does the “challenge for cause” procedure work fairly and effectively for Indigenous Peoples when attempting to expose partiality?
Chapter 5: Is the “peremptory challenge” option neutral in its application or potentially discriminatory against Indigenous Peoples?
Chapter 6: Conclusions
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