Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that should increase the number of people who can be included in jury pools for US District Courts in New York State. The legislation was introduced by State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle.
Broadening the jury pool should make the panels more diverse. And random selection of jurors who better reflect the communities they serve will help boost the public's confidence in the justice system, says Frank Geraci Jr., chief judge for federal courts in Western New York.
The demand for additional jurors is also the result of more cases being filed with New York's District Courts, and that trend is expected to continue.
There are four US District Courts throughout the state. But prior to the new legislation, they did not have access to the wide base of potential jurors available to the state's court system.
The state's courts can find potential jurors by combing through voter registration, driver licenses, state tax filings, unemployment insurance, and public assistance records.
The District Courts didn't have access to the state's information, but the new legislation allows them to get lists of registered voters and licensed drivers.