Jury list in York South–Weston is the worst in the city

The Colten Boushie case has brought jury composition squarely into public debate. Now, The Star has shown that Weston and Mount Dennis have profoundly “broken” jury lists that place far more white people than visible minorities on juries.

York South–Weston has the worst disparity in the city between population and jury representation. 95% of our residents are missing for the jury pool.

The jury rolls are drawn from property ownership lists, and “renters, boarders, students, seniors, spouses who are not named on property titles, transient and low-income people, Indigenous people and those unable to afford property” are often excluded.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

2 thoughts on “Jury list in York South–Weston is the worst in the city”

  1. Interesting stuff, and I hope I read some of that correctly.

    I agree with the point that things should change because evidently, it’s not totally inclusive when searching for prospective trial jurors.

    Okay, then – let’s make it fair.
    (And, I do like one of the ideas suggested by on of the lawyers.)

    I also find it interesting that through lists like these, MPAC’s data base helps provide us with our Voters lists, too – which can also be incomplete and often ignored come election time.

    How do you fix that – poor voter turn out?

    But obviously, motivation & stats can be quite baffling, and I can’t help but get the sense that your headline and the Star “report” may be a little deceptive.

    According to the Star’s article authors, the present MPAC list used is indeed an incomplete list from (about 9.5 million names?) both property owners and non-owners.

    And, they also write that it is uncertain how those who don’t own property, such as renters, are captured in that data collected.

    Behind their numbers – they showed this for Ward 11:
    – the MPAC data base total = 2,209
    – eligible voters = 41,545
    – % missing from MPAC list = 94.7%

    Apparently, MPAC had mailed occupancy questionnaires to residential properties asking for information from non-owners. But, only about 20% of the forms are returned.

    People aren’t required to tell.

    So, guess what – by being apathetic and ignoring their civic responsibility, they don’t make these lists and can’t potentially assist the judiciary with a balanced and fair process.

    Consequently, one of the criminal lawyers in the report expressed it quite well when he said, “having a jury of peers does not mean a jury must be exactly like you, but reflects the diverse interest in your community.”

    Plus in this report, assumptions were made that some folks could afford to be away from their place of livelihood without economic consequences.

    Really?

    Civic duty or not, I’m pretty sure that employers aren’t keen on lengthy absenteeism. It could become a slow and painful threat to one’s career.
    (And, heaven help you if you’re selected to try a gangster’s case, even though they’re not supposed to know who you are.)

    Anyway, in fairness to inclusivity, I think the idea of using the Provincial Health Cards list would be perfect because most folks (good and bad) have health cards, and utilize the health care system, regularly.

    So, this might just be the most reasonable way of getting your name on the potential juror’s list and stepping up, helping a community of peers who feel unrepresented. (As long as everyone understands that they’ll still quite likely be cleverly scrutinized by the Defense and then the Crown before being selected for jury duty.)

    Then, there’ll be no one to blame.

    1. Oh, and one last point..

      The Star writers admit that they did not watch the jury selection process in all of those 52 trials that they reported on. Just the finalized trial jury.

      Perhaps more assumptions?

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