The collateral consequences of criminal legal association during jury selection


Clair, Matthew, and Alix S. Winter. Forthcoming. “The collateral consequences of criminal legal association during jury selection”. Law and Society Review.
PDF version310 KB


How does a potential juror’s association with the criminal legal system matter during jury selection? Growing scholarship examines statutory exclusions of people with felony convictions, sometimes characterizing felon-juror exclusion as a collateral consequence of mass incarceration. Less research has considered whether court officials seek to exclude potential jurors based on lower-level forms of contact or perceived association. We draw on interviews with 103 lawyers and judges in a Northeastern state to examine how court officials think about juror bias in relation to criminal legal association beyond felon status. We find that court officials often seek to remove people perceived to be offenders with lower-level forms of system association as well as people perceived to be crime victims. These exclusionary efforts extend to also exclude perceived offenders’ and victims’ social networks. These practices are racialized and gendered, likely contributing to the systematic exclusion of marginalized racial/ethnic groups and women. This article expands the collateral consequences literature in two ways: first, by revealing how collateral consequences can be conceptualized not just in relation to people criminalized by the law but also in relation to those whom the law constructs as victims; and second, by underscoring how collateral consequences feed back into the system to reproduce its unequal administration. 

Last updated on 08/12/2022