William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


Americans expect their constitutional rights to be respected by the federal, state, and local governments, but a lack of transparency on a government’s behalf prevents Americans from being able to trust their governments fully. This Note demonstrates the astounding lack of transparency in Louisiana parishes’ jury venire creation procedures, which prevent Louisianans from trusting that their communities are represented by a fair cross-section on jury venires. The same lack of transparency restricts any constitutional challenges of the representation on appeal, as the major test for the fair cross-section, the Duren test, requires a showing of systematic exclusion on the government’s behalf. Without access to these venire creation processes, defendants’ challenges fail on appeal, potentially increasing Louisiana’s mass incarceration problem and allowing parish governments to continue avoiding accountability. This Note examines the venire creation procedures of three Louisiana parishes, comparing their transparency to that of the federal court system. Additionally, this Note offers solutions for the Louisiana State Legislature to reform these processes, especially in light of the clear under-representation of minorities in Jefferson Parish jury venires. Louisiana is no stranger to constitutional problems, but the current generation of Louisianans no longer blindly accepts the state’s failures, such as local governments’ lack of transparency and the criminal justice system’s blatant denial of constitutional rights.