St. Mary's Law Journal


This Article argues that the Texas Legislature should abolish the jury shuffle and join the other forty-nine states who have already done so. The jury shuffle, when requested, is a procedure which results in a random shuffling of the names of the jury pool members. Texas attorneys currently possess an entirely cost and risk free procedure through which they can discriminate against potential jurors on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, or anything else that suits their fancy. An attorney can request a jury shuffle without stating a reason and a judge cannot ask why a shuffle was requested or refuse a timely jury shuffle request. The Texas Legislature enacted the jury shuffle statute with the intent of ensuring randomness and fairness in jury selection. Attorneys, however, are allowed rampant discrimination through the free pass granted to them by the Texas Legislature. The procedure has been criticized by judges, attorneys and scholars, yet the jury shuffle lives to be abused another day. Removing the jury shuffle from the Texas jury selection process will ensure greater fairness and justice for Texas litigants. The jury shuffle should not be reformed because any proposed cures would be far worse than the constitutional wrongs the jury shuffle allows. Batson v. Kentucky held that peremptory challenges based on race are prohibited because they violate the Fourteenth Amendment. This holding should not be applied to the Texas jury shuffle because it would not eliminate the deficiencies in the procedure. Moreover, parties facing a Batson challenge in Texas can easily defeat it by relying on the clear error standard of review. The jury shuffle has outlived its usefulness, and therefore, should be abolished to ensure greater fairness and justice in jury selection.


St. Mary's University School of Law