Jury Underrepresentation of African-Americans In California

Does Disparity In Percentage Render Representation of Afro-Americans on Jury Veruses Less Than Fair and Reasonable In Relation to Their Population In a State ? In People v. Bell (1989) 49 Cal. 3d 502, 525 262 Cal. Rptr. 1, 778 P.2d 129, the challenge to the Contra Costa County jury venire involved allegations of underrepresentation of African-Americans. There, the statistical evidence disclosed that African-Americans constituted about 8 percent of the adult population and this distinctive group comprised approximately 3 percent of the prospective superior court jurors, an absolute disparity of 5 percent. The ultimate ruling in Bell however did not turn on the question of whether the defendant made out a prima facie case under Duren's second prong. And, while we likewise do not base our ruling on this point, the court's comment is nevertheless worthy of mention: "It does not appear that a disparity of this degree renders the representation of Blacks on jury venires less than fair and reasonable in relation to their numbers in the general population of Contra Costa County." (Bell, supra, 49 Cal. 3d at p. 527.)