The elderly population in the United States is growing. Currently, in most federal and state courts, any citizen of the United States can avoid jury duty if the individual is age seventy or older. This is problematic as the United States’ older population grows. It must allow the older population to stay involved in their communities and the judicial processes. Keeping the older population engaged is beneficial as they are a hard-working population and many will have retired which eliminates the concerns about absences from work. The history of the jury values diverse viewpoints. A proper community representation is a desirable trait in a jury. With an increasing elderly population, more elderly Americans should be a part of the jury selection process.
States have their own rules regarding the jury-selection opt-out age and procedures. Some state programs allow individuals to opt-out at the age of sixty-five. If the federal government increases the opt-out age, states may mirror their jury selection standards. This change would encourage more elderly jurors to be a part of jury selection.
This Note surveys the history on jury service and the advantages of including the aging population as jury members. It also provides an analysis on international and domestic requirements and rationale for why increasing the jury opt-out age would be beneficial to society. The author recommends that the federal jury opt-out age should be increased from seventy to seventy-five. This change is needed to accommodate the growth of the aging population and preserve the integrity of the jury system.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lydia Faklis is the Managing Editor 2017-2018, Member 2016-2017, The Elder Law Journal; J.D. 2018, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; B.A. English 2015, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The author dedicates this Note to Nicholas and Laurie Faklis.