Op-ed: Soliciting donations from jurors can bias criminal court verdicts

Every year, millions of Americans file into courthouses for jury duty. They form a critical constitutional pillar of the criminal justice system — an unbiased trial by a jury of one’s peers. As they await their assignments, many potential jurors also must decide whether to donate their jury pay to charity. Far from being a mundane, inconsequential choice, the state-mandated opportunity to give to charity can alter decisions on whether to find a defendant guilty.

Since 1995, the Texas legislature has required courts to provide all jurors with the opportunity to donate their pay to the state’s crime victims fund. Administered by the Texas attorney general, this fund pays expenses of victims of violent crime. Today, Texas jurors also must have the option to donate to funds for child welfare, for victims of domestic violence and more…

Read the full op-ed as it was published by the Washington Examiner.

CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.