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Juror anonymity was unknown to American common law and

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Juror anonymity was unknown to American common law and [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2011, 02:21
Juror anonymity was unknown to American common law and jurisprudence in the country?s first two centuries. Anonymity was first employed in federal prosecutions of organized crime in New York in the 1980's. Although anonymous juries are unusual since they are typically only empanelled in organized-crime cases, its use has spread more recently to widely publicized cases, such as the federal prosecution of police officers accused of beating Rodney King and the trial of those accused of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In these cases, attorneys selected a jury from a panel of prospective jurors whose names, addresses, ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations remained unknown to either side. This unorthodox procedure, designed to protect jurors from outside influence and the fear of retaliation, has occasionally been employed in New York federal courts since the trial of drug kingpin Leroy "Nicky" Barnes. Despite apparent benefits, critics assail anonymous juries on the grounds that they are an infringement of the sixth amendment guarantee of an impartial jury and because they present a serious and unnecessary erosion of the presumption of innocence. Since many attorneys believe trials are frequently won or lost during jury selection, any procedure diminishing the role of counsel in the procedure necessitates close scrutiny and criticism. Opponents of anonymous juries argue that the procedure restricts meaningful voir dire, (questioning of the jury panel), and thereby undermines the defendant's sixth amendment right to an impartial jury. Critics also claim that jurors interpret their anonymity as proof of the defendant's criminal proclivity, thereby subverting the presumption of innocence. However, consistent with due process and the sixth amendment, the trial judge may refuse to ask prospective jurors any questions not reasonably calculated to expose biases or prejudices relevant to the case. Although addresses and group affiliations may indicate significant potential for bias, attorneys do not have an unfettered right to this information in every circumstance. Denying access to these facts may indeed constrain an attorney's ability to assemble an ideal jury, but it violates no constitutional right.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. Enumerate reasons why anonymous juries are unconstitutional
B. Discuss whether anonymous juries are an infringement of the sixth amendment
C. Identify a shortcoming in a scholarly approach to jurisprudence
D. Define the concept of anonymous juries and explore efforts taken over the last twenty
E. years to increase their use Review strategies for ensuring that anonymous juries will not infringe on the constitutional right to a fair trial of one?s peers

2. It can be inferred from the passage that a jurors ethnic background and religious affiliation
A. Is considered by defendants not to have a significant effect on the outcome of their trials
B. Is considered by defendants to have a significant effect on the outcome of their trials
C. Would be unlikely to have a significant effect on the verdict of a trial
D. Is considered by attorneys likely to have a significant effect on the verdict of a trial
E. Is considered by attorneys unlikely to have a significant effect on the verdict of a trial in a widely publicized case

[Reveal] Spoiler:
1. B
2. C


When I read the passage - the author seems to be questioning the juror anonymity. And I also read that defendant is not in favor of this as it seems to violate his right to impartial jury. So the answer to Q2 should be B. Am I missing something here? How can the author infer "no effect" on the trial when juror anonymity may be against the sixth amendment ?? Is this because of the last line -
Denying access to these facts may indeed constrain an attorney's ability to assemble an ideal jury, but it violates no constitutional right.
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Re: Help needed on complex passage. [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2011, 11:42
Though I got the answer wrong for the second question, here goes my understanding..

It can be inferred from the last line that it'll not have any effect.. so that should be our inference. Note " Although addresses and group affiliations may indicate significant potential for bias"... The author is presenting a conflicting view here which is our inference....

gmat1220 wrote:
Juror anonymity was unknown to American common law and jurisprudence in the country?s first two centuries. Anonymity was first employed in federal prosecutions of organized crime in New York in the 1980's. Although anonymous juries are unusual since they are typically only empanelled in organized-crime cases, its use has spread more recently to widely publicized cases, such as the federal prosecution of police officers accused of beating Rodney King and the trial of those accused of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In these cases, attorneys selected a jury from a panel of prospective jurors whose names, addresses, ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations remained unknown to either side. This unorthodox procedure, designed to protect jurors from outside influence and the fear of retaliation, has occasionally been employed in New York federal courts since the trial of drug kingpin Leroy "Nicky" Barnes. Despite apparent benefits, critics assail anonymous juries on the grounds that they are an infringement of the sixth amendment guarantee of an impartial jury and because they present a serious and unnecessary erosion of the presumption of innocence. Since many attorneys believe trials are frequently won or lost during jury selection, any procedure diminishing the role of counsel in the procedure necessitates close scrutiny and criticism. Opponents of anonymous juries argue that the procedure restricts meaningful voir dire, (questioning of the jury panel), and thereby undermines the defendant's sixth amendment right to an impartial jury. Critics also claim that jurors interpret their anonymity as proof of the defendant's criminal proclivity, thereby subverting the presumption of innocence. However, consistent with due process and the sixth amendment, the trial judge may refuse to ask prospective jurors any questions not reasonably calculated to expose biases or prejudices relevant to the case. Although addresses and group affiliations may indicate significant potential for bias, attorneys do not have an unfettered right to this information in every circumstance. Denying access to these facts may indeed constrain an attorney's ability to assemble an ideal jury, but it violates no constitutional right.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. Enumerate reasons why anonymous juries are unconstitutional
B. Discuss whether anonymous juries are an infringement of the sixth amendment
C. Identify a shortcoming in a scholarly approach to jurisprudence
D. Define the concept of anonymous juries and explore efforts taken over the last twenty
E. years to increase their use Review strategies for ensuring that anonymous juries will not infringe on the constitutional right to a fair trial of one?s peers

2. It can be inferred from the passage that a jurors ethnic background and religious affiliation
A. Is considered by defendants not to have a significant effect on the outcome of their trials
B. Is considered by defendants to have a significant effect on the outcome of their trials
C. Would be unlikely to have a significant effect on the verdict of a trial
D. Is considered by attorneys likely to have a significant effect on the verdict of a trial
E. Is considered by attorneys unlikely to have a significant effect on the verdict of a trial in a widely publicized case

[Reveal] Spoiler:
1. B
2. C


When I read the passage - the author seems to be questioning the juror anonymity. And I also read that defendant is not in favor of this as it seems to violate his right to impartial jury. So the answer to Q2 should be B. Am I missing something here? How can the author infer "no effect" on the trial when juror anonymity may be against the sixth amendment ?? Is this because of the last line -
Denying access to these facts may indeed constrain an attorney's ability to assemble an ideal jury, but it violates no constitutional right.
Re: Help needed on complex passage.   [#permalink] 02 Jul 2011, 11:42
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