Jury Selection

There is a great concern that a People’s Grand Jury could be co-opted by a politically motivated special interest faction which could then advocate for the reversal of a valid election or public policy. It would be disastrous to society if the People’s Grand Jury were controlled by any special interest — such as Tea Parties, Unions, Republicans, Democrats, LBGT, Environmentalists, etc. It would no longer consist of a true, unbiased, cross section of the population but a politically motivated force intent on forcing their agenda upon the people.

Blind JusticeWithout state control, it’s imperative that the initiative dictate the procedure for selection of random, unbiased, jurors which will effectively eliminate co-option by special interests. This is accomplished through Section 3 (b) “RANDOM SELECTION OF THE PEOPLE’S GRAND JURORS” as described following:

General Overview:
The Board of the current People’s Grand Jury will request that the county select a pool of potential jurors from its roster of eligible residents — based on the very specific parameters contained within this initiative. Once the pool is selected the Board will review and verify the process and results, then send a letter to the members of the pool verifying eligibility and requesting their service on the subsequent People’s Grand Jury. The twenty six who respond to the request, verify their eligibility, and wish to serve will be selected as the jurors — again based on specific requirements so that the jury may not be co-opted by anyone’s discretion.

Specific Details:
Section 3 (b) 1: The county will, upon the Board’s request, select and notify individuals to serve as potential jurors as described herein:

The county has access to the list of residents within the county along with the employees and computing power necessary to select qualified individuals as directed herein. The county may not use its discretion but will select and notify a pool of potential jurors based on the specific terms within this initiative — under the direct supervision of the existing People’s Grand Jury Board.

Section 3 (b) 1 (i): The Board will forward to the county the number of individuals to be contacted as potential jurors.

When the Board initiates a request to the county to select and notify a pool of potential jurors, it must specify how many individuals should be included within this pool. This number must be based on experience — or reasonable assumptions in lieu of experience. As an example, if experience dictates that roughly two percent of the selected individuals are willing to serve on the People’s Grand Jury, than roughly 1,300 individuals would need to be selected to populate the 26 jurors. If no experience factor exists to draw upon than the Board may logical assume one percent of the pool would be willing to participate. Based on this assumption the Board would request that 2,600 individuals be selected.

Section 3 (b) 1 (ii): To the best of its ability the county will produce a list of individuals within the county meeting the qualifications to serve on the People’s Grand Jury as specified in Section 3 (a) 2 of this Article. The individuals on the list will be sorted by street address then full name, and then assigned a consecutive order number.

The county shouldn’t spend an inordinate amount of time, money, and discretion determining who is eligible to serve on the People’s Grand Jury. The list of residents the county uses for routine jury selection will be the same list used to select potential People’s Grand Jurors — minus public servants and those incarcerated by the state. If the county is able to identify public servants or those incarcerated, they may itemize these individuals then remove them from the list. (As part of the verification process the Board may request documentation of the public servants, or incarcerated individuals, removed.) This list will be sorted by NAME within STREET ADDRESS then assigned a consecutive order number.


Raw Data:
Name Street Address
Collins, John 643 West Street
Derick, Mary 123 East Street
Edwards, Samuel 7543 Washington Blvd
Smith, Elizabeth 56 Apple Lane
Sorted Data:
Consecutive Order Number Street Address Name
1 123 East Street Derick, Mary
2 56 Apple Lane Smith, Elizabeth
3 643 West Street Collins, John
4 7543 Washington Blvd Edwards, Samuel

Section 3 (b) 1 (iii): An increment will be computed by multiplying the total number of individuals contained on the list, by 3 percent (.03). Each individual having their order number match a computed counter, starting from one then increased by the increment, will be selected as potential jurors. …

What??? It sounds confusing, but isn’t. The problem we have is “How will the Board randomly select potential jurors from the supplied list?” Again, we can’t leave it to personal discretion since this could bias the selection. In the worst case scenario the Board could choose “at random” who it thinks would be best to fill the positions. This would create bias and very likely foster an agenda. Other Boards could chose the first 2,000 or so names from the list, and other Boards may pick and choose in what they consider a random manner. Without consistency, the people could never have confidence that the convened People’s Grand Jury was randomly unbiased.

To eliminate discretion the initiative specifies exactly how to choose the potential juror pool from the supplied list, without bias, ending up with a true cross section of the population.

What is the increment? The increment defines how many individuals will be skipped between selections? For example, if the increment is one (1) and the Board wants to choose a pool of 2,000 potential jurors, than the first 2,000 individuals listed will be selected. If you’re dealing with a large county – such as Oakland with 1.2 million people — than a lot of people may be excluded from consideration. If the Board chooses an increment of 10, you may run into the same problem. With a desired pool of 2,000, then the 10th, 20th, 30th … all the way to the 20,000 would be chosen. In some counties this may be fine, but in large counties it will again exclude many from consideration.

To remove personal discretion from the process, and make the process consistent regardless of the size of the county, the initiative computes the increment at 3% of the total on the list. Therefore, consider a large county, such as Oakland county with an estimated 1,231,640 population. It’s possible that 2/3rds of this population (821,134) might satisfy the requirements as potential jurors and end up on the county supplied list. The computed increment for selecting jurors from Oakland county, in this example, would be 3% of this number or 24,634. Therefore, for Oakland County, the 24,634th person on the list would be selected as the first potential juror, the 49,268th person on the list would be the 2nd potential juror chosen, etc.

A smaller county — such as Ontonagon with a estimated population of 6,322 would have a much smaller increment computed in a like fashion. Assume the county provides a list containing 2/3rds of this number as (4,157) eligible potential jurors. The computed increment would be 3% of this number equaling 124. Therefore, in Ontonagon county the first potential juror would be 124th on the list, the 2nd would be 248th, etc.

Section 3 (b) 1 (iii) (continued): …Upon reaching the list end, the counter will be re-set to the excess of the computed counter over the list total. If a duplicate order number is selected, the computed counter will be increased by 1 (one), and the process will continue until as many individuals are selected as requested by the Board. The sequence in which the potential jurors are selected is referred to as the selection order;

The increment is designed so that everyone on the list will be considered for selection as a potential juror. Regardless of the size of the county, the computed increment will select the first 33 potential jurors (100 / 3) then reach the end of the list. Obviously many more than 33 individuals must be selected for the potential selection pool. Therefore, we must read through the same list multiple more times by simply appending the list to itself.

Take, for example, Ontonagon county with a list of 4,157 eligible potential jurors. As noted before the computed increment would be 124 meaning the 124th individual is first chosen, number 248th is 2nd chosen … number 4092 is 33rd chosen. We don’t have enough people on the list for the next increment 4,216 (4,092 + 124), so we must re-read the list a second time starting from the computed increment minus the list total. In this example we’d start at number 59 (4,216 which is first computed increment higher than list total – minus – list total of 4,157). In this example, order number 59 would be the 34th person chosen, order number 183 (59 + 124) would be the 35th person chosen, etc. We would continue using this logic until we populated the pool with the total quantity requested by the Board.

Section 3 (b) 1 (iv): The sorted list, assigned order numbers, and assigned selection order will be forwarded to the Board for review, verification, and approval;

The county has no authority nor discretion in selecting individuals to populate the potential jury pool. The Board is responsible for ensuring that the selection process is performed according to the terms of the initiative — not the county. Once the county selects the potential juror pool as requested by the Board, the details associated with the selection must be forwarded to the Board for review and verification — the sorted list, assigned order numbers, and assigned selection order. It’s not feasible to print the review information on paper, so it would most likely be forwarded within an electronic format — such as in a electronic spreadsheet.

At their discretion the Board may review the data for reasonability by performing tasks such as reviewing the list to make sure it is sorted in the correct order, checking the computed increment, randomly verifying the correctness of selection by performing similar review as was done in prior examples, checking to make sure the correct quantity was selected, reviewing the appropriateness of anyone removed from the list — such as for being a public servant or incarcerated, etc.

If the Board discovers a problem, it must communicate such to the county which must correct the error then regenerate corrected output. If no errors are discovered the Board will accept the counties selection as accurate.

Section 3 (b) 2: After the selection of jurors is verified as accurate and approved by the Board, the county will send a Board-generated notification to the potential jurors requesting they verify their eligibility and desire to serve as a People’s Grand Juror, and to respond back to the Board by a specified return date.

After the selection of the potential juror pool has been accepted by the Board, The Board will draft and send a letter to each included individual informing them that they had been selected as a potential People’s Grand Juror; asking the recipient to verify their eligibility by confirming they are over 18, not a public servant, and not incarcerated; and verifying their desire to serve. There will be instructions within the letter to respond by a specified date if they are interested in serving. This letter will be forwarded to the county who will send it to every individual within the potential juror pool.

Section 3 (b) 3: From responses received by the return date, the Board will select jurors based on the selection order, not on the order in which the responses were received. The first 26 will be chosen as People’s Grand Jurors…

The Board must track all the responses received from members of the potential juror pool who desire to serve. The responses must be sorted based on the “Selection Order” – the order in which the potential jurors were physically selected from the list – not the original order number or date received.

Assume the table below represents a summary of responses received. (There would be many more than 4, but this is just an example.)

Responses Received from individuals within the Potential Jury Pool:
Order Number Selection Order Pass Name Date Received
124 1 1 Kelly, James 5-1-2017
1240 10 1 Watson, Mark 4-18-2017
59 34 2 Tomisan, Jim 5-7-2017
1397 44 2 Smith, clair 4-27-2017

The order number represents the order in which they were originally sorted while the selection order represents the physical order in which the potential jurors were selected. In this example, James Kelly was the first person selected on the first pass through the list. The 2nd through the 9th potential jurors selected did not respond. The next person to respond was Mark Watson who was selected 10th on the first pass through the list. No other individuals responded from the first pass, but Jim Timisan was the next potential juror to respond who was physically selected 34th on the second pass through the list.

Based on all the responses received, ordered by the original selection order, the first 26 will be designated People’s Grand Jurors.

Section 3 (b) 3 (continued):… If the Board is unable to secure all 26 positions a People’s Grand Jury may be convened with as few as 13 jurors.

If possible, the People’s Grand Jury should have 26 jurors. This will ensure diversity of thought and allow for more balanced decisions.

There may be situations where the Board is unable to acquire 26 individuals desiring to serve — such as in Keweenaw county whose 2010 census population totaled 2,191 individuals. Assuming 1/3 of these individuals are not eligible — younger than 18, a public servant, or incarcerated — that leaves a total potential juror pool of 1,461 individuals. It’s possible that well less than 26 individuals could respond to notification.

According to the Section 3 (d) 3, A quorum of 13 jurors shall be required to proceed. Therefore, if a county receives a minimum of 13 eligible responses, a People’s Grand Jury can be convened.

Section 3 (b) 4: If the Board is unable to convene a subsequent People’s Grand Jury before their term end, the existing Board is dissolved and Section 3 (a) 5 applies.

If the Board of the convened People’s Grand Jury is not able to convene a subsequent People’s Grand Jury prior to the termination of their term, the current People’s Grand Jury is dissolved, the Board no longer exists, and the process for creating a new People’s Grand Jury must be initiated according to Section 3 (a) 5.

(Section 3 (a) 5: In the absence of a convened People’s Grand Jury the people may initiate a public meeting allowing those attending to select a temporary Board to coordinate the selection of the initial county People’s Grand Jury according to the provisions within this Article. Once selected, the temporary Board will be dissolved, and the jurors will establish their Board as referenced in Section 3 (a) 3 of this Article. The county must post public notice of this meeting and provide access to a meeting room;)