NJP News

06.26.2020

COVID-19 and JURY SERVICE

NJP LITIGATION CONSULTING/WEST Survey Findings June 2020

NJP Litigation Consulting/West conducted an survey June 12-18, 2020, of more than 400 jury eligible residents of Los Angeles and six Bay Area counties (Alameda, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo and Contra Costa) concerning jury service and COVID-19. The survey was conducted online using the Qualtrics platform.

208 respondents were residents of Los Angeles County, 211 were residents of the six Bay Area counties.  All respondents were jury eligible. The sample was diverse: aged 18 to 60 plus, slightly more women than men, with a mix of race, education, political party, and political orientation.

Notably, the survey was in the field after many shelter-at-home orders were modified and in the midst of ongoing demonstrations and national attention focused on Black Lives Matter, police abuse, and the death of George Floyd.

The take-aways from the survey are that a majority do not feel they can take on the responsibility of being a juror now and give a trial their full attention, nor are they willing to participate in deliberations which go on for longer than one day. It will be difficult to select juries throughout 2020 which are diverse and represent a cross section of the public without imposing undue hardship.

  • Importantly, more than 50% of those surveyed would find it difficult to give a trial their full attention because of their current circumstances.
  • More than 50% would not be willing to participate in jury deliberations that last longer than one day.
  • Nearly half of all respondents (46%) suffered household income losses due to the pandemic.
  • 31% of people of color, as compared to 23% of whites, experienced a job loss in their household.
  • Women, more than men, are unwilling to serve on trials this year.
  • More than two-thirds of those unwilling to serve this year say they are afraid to be in a large group and risk exposure to COVID-19.
  • Young people (18-30) were particularly hard hit by the pandemic: over 40% suffered a loss of household income; especially young African American women (77%).
  • Latinx men 31 and older were hard hit by income loss, especially those 51 and older (67% ), along with a narrow band of white men aged 31-50 (58%).
  • HOWEVER, over 80% of all respondents say it is more important to continue social distancing even if it means continued damage to the economy.

COVID-19 IMPACT GENERALLY

Experience with the Virus:

  • 5% of the sample strongly suspect they have had COVID-19.
  • 18% believe a family member or close friend had COVID-19.

Lost jobs and income:

  • 27% have a household member that lost a job because of the pandemic.

Job loss was higher among younger respondents:

               Lost a job because of pandemic
18-30 years 43%
31-50 years 27%
51 and older 17%
  • 46% reported household income declined due to the pandemic.

Income loss was greater among younger respondents:

               Household income declined
18-30 years 54%
31-50 years 47%
51 and older 40%

Income loss was highest among young women (age 18-30):

               Household income declined for 18-30
African American Women 77%
Asian Women 67%
White  Women 60%
Latinx  Women 54%

                                             Latinx men age 31 and older lost income:

               Household income declined
31-50 years 57%
51 and older 67%

And a narrow band of white men:

  • 58% of those age 31-50 reported lost income.

Concern About COVID-19 and Precautions Taken

Concern about Covid-19:

  • Respondents were asked, On a scale from 1 to 10, how concerned are you that you may get Covid-19?       58% rated their concern 7 or higher.

Masks:

  • 73% say they always wear a mask when around people not in their immediate household.

Social Distancing

  • 69% say they always practice social distancing of 6 feet or more from people not in their household.                             

ISSUES REGARDING JURY SERVICE

Jury Service Now:

  • 58% said because of the current circumstances it would be too difficult to serve on a jury now and give trial their full attention.
               Too difficult to serve and give trial full attention
Latinx 64%
White 58%
Asian  58%
Black 46%

Deliberations:

  • 58% of respondents also said they would NOT be willing to participate in jury deliberations that lasted more than one day.
                              Would not participate in deliberations that last more than one day
Latinx 62%
White 58%
Asian 57%
Black 49%

Trials this summer:

  • 48% of men and 57% of women say they would not be willing to serve on a trial between June and August.

                                                            NOT willing to serve between June and August: 

  Under 50 years 50 and over
White males 40% 69%
White females 57% 55%
Black males 46% 50%
Black females 44% 63%
Latinx males 54% 33%
Latinx females 52% 80%
Asian males 44% 39%
Asian females 68% 53%

Trials this fall:

  • Respondents indicated a slight increase in their willingness to serve as jurors later in the year. However, 43% of men and 52% of women say they would not be willing to serve on a trial between September and the end of 2020.

NOT willing to serve September through end of 2020:

  Under 50 years 50 and over
White males 40% 50%
White females 57% 51%
Black males 46% 50%
Black females 48% 50%
Latinx males 46% 33%
Latinx females 44% 60%
Asian males 44% 39%
Asian females 56% 53%

Not surprisingly health and financial concerns are the leading reasons.

Of those unwilling to serve on juries between June and August:

  • 70% are afraid to be in a large group and risk exposure to COVID-19.
  • 22% have financial problems due to the pandemic that would make service a hardship.

Of those unwilling to serve on a trial between September and the end of 2020:

  • 64% would be afraid to be in a large group and risk exposure to COVID-19.
  • 21% have financial problems due to the pandemic that would make jury service a hardship.

Health Concerns are More Important than the Economic Impact

  • 84% believe Americans should continue to social distance for as long as needed to curb the spread of COVID-19, even if it means continued damage to the economy.
  • 73% agreed during the pandemic too many corporations put profit over the safety of their workers.
  • 72% disagreed that local governments requiring people to wear face masks in public is government overreach.

How COVID-19 Impacts Inequality in the United States

  • Of those surveyed, 68% agree strongly, or somewhat that COVID-19 is increasing inequality in the US, with strong differences in opinions between African Americans and all others:

COVID-19 increased inequality in US

  Agree strongly Agree Somewhat
White 23% 43%
African American 40% 33%
Latinx 27% 38%
Asian 23% 46%

For more information contact:

NJP LITIGATION CONSULTING/West

NJP.com           510-832-2583

LHeaney@njp.com   or   CBauss@njp.com

NJP West
510-832-2583
NJP Midwest
612-338-2244
NJP East & South
973-216-6703
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