ABA Midyear Meeting

ABA House resolutions address juror discrimination, remedies for convictions based on bad science

  • Print.



The ABA House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed two resolutions related to criminal trials on Monday at the ABA Midyear Meeting at Vancouver, British Columbia.

In the wake of numerous news stories about flawed forensic science and mix-ups and malfeasance at labs, the House was asked to approve a call for procedural remedies for anyone whose conviction may have rested on bad scientific evidence.

The Criminal Justice Section urged in Resolution 108B that legislatures at every level “enact legislation creating a substantive right and procedures for individuals to challenge their convictions by demonstrating that forensic evidence or testimony used to obtain their convictions has been undermined or discredited by reliable scientific research or technological advances.”

Under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Batson v. Kentucky (1986), jurors are protected from being removed by peremptory challenges on the basis of their race, gender or any classification that warrants heightened judicial scrutiny.

In Resolution 108D, which was co-sponsored by the National LGBT Bar Association, the ABA urged that courts explicitly extend Batson protection to prohibit discrimination against jurors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

No one spoke in opposition of the motion.

Follow along with our full coverage of the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.