Last year's jury decisions in racially-charged investigations were only the most recent to reveal the schism in the country's perceptions of how race intersects with justice. From the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archives, here is a look back over more than twenty years of data on race and the jury system.
When jurors receive that summons in the mail, they believe the court commanded them to attend, not the Constitution. Such a reality inverts role that juries were expected to play. Citizens have lost the sense that jury duty is constitution duty, and that "we the people" are responsible for our government.
In the film 12 Angry Men, a lone man is able to convince his fellow jurors to switch their votes from guilty to not guilty. But in some places, the movie would have been much shorter and the result different -- because in those states, 10 out of 12 jurors voting guilty is enough to send a person away to prison for the rest of his life.