Matt Welch’s experience being called for a civil jury [Reason] I, and this site, get a mention; I’ve had multiple reports of people bringing my books with them to the courthouse so as not to be picked for a jury. And I wrote for Reason about the jury selection process a while back.
More: In a followup post, Welch quotes passages from my 2003 article and confirms that, alas, the same practices are going on today, at least in New York City: the rigorous exclusion of jurors with any expertise or familiarity with difficult technical issues, and independent-minded people likely to be “thought leaders”; the avid efforts to plant preconceptions about the facts and issues of the case and extract individual “promises” of favorable votes, with no judge present; and so forth. There were hopes the round of reforms introduced by then-Chief Judge Judith Kaye some years back would clean up New York’s awful voir dire (jury selection) process, but clearly it hasn’t. Much less nonsense tends to go on in jury selection if the judge is present, and a key to the awfulness of New York voir dire — and its empowerment of lawyers — is the judge’s absence. Plus: Ilya Somin weighs in.