Volume 56

Immigration Status in Jury Trials: State Legislature & State Supreme Court Involvement in Combatting Jury Bias

by Veena Bansal

In 2018, immigration was a controversial issue. On July 18, 2018 Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year old student, was abducted while jogging through the rural town of Brooklyn, Iowa.1 She disappeared without a trace and her story took the news by storm.2 Over a month later, police arrested3alleged undocumented immigrant, Cristian Rivera, for Mollie’s murder. President Trump immediately called for immigration reform, asserting that cities that have passed sanctuary city laws are responsible for her disappearance.4 Given the prevalence and partisan nature of this topic, this Note seeks to clarify how immigration status is used in jury trials. Additionally, this Note analyzes whether recently enacted laws that limit the admissibility of immigration status meaningfully advance immigration reform and measures State Supreme Courts can take in order to mitigate immigration bias in jury trials.

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