Legal Dictionary

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Fair Cross Section Requirement

According to the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a person has a right to a trial by an impartial jury. The jury must be drawn from a representative cross-section of the community. The pool of potential jurors does not need to precisely match the composition of the jurisdiction. The fair section requirement is met when the jury pool is drawn from sources from which no “distinctive groups” have been systematically excluded. While The United States Supreme Court has not articulated any guidelines for when a group is “distinctive”, the Court has made it abundantly clear that Mexican-Americans (Hispanics), African-Americans, and women are distinctive groups. Any exclusion of these groups would certainly violate the fair cross section requirement.