California US District Judge Edward Davila dismissed nine jurors from the fraud trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes for being unvaccinated against COVID-19 this week.

Reuters reported that Davila claimed that he did this in order to keep jurors and their families healthy, but legal experts are speaking out to warn that dismissing jurors for being unvaccinated may end up skewing the jury pool.

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“If you excuse those [unvaccinated] people, you no longer have a representative jury,” said Christina Marinakis, who is a jury consultant with the litigation consulting company IMS.

Marinakis went on to add that Americans who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 have more critical views of the government and corporate America.

“The trend we’ve found consistently across jurisdictions is that people who are unvaccinated tend to have more anti-corporate attitudes,” she said. “Those jurors tend to be distrustful of government bodies, tend to feel things aren’t always what they seem.”

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Valerie Hans, a professor at Cornell Law School, said that while the judge’s decision makes sense to her, there will also be a ripple effect from it.

“I think it’s a reasonable decision amid the pandemic, but yes, the elimination of unvaccinated people is likely to affect the makeup of the jury pool,” she said.

Other experts have warned that this issue could be grounds for challenging a verdict in cases where the prosecution and defense do not agree.

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“Any unusual restrictions on who is eligible to serve on the jury in a particular case could raise issues on appeal,” said Kaspar Stoffelmayr of the law firm Bartlit Beck. However, he went on to warn against trying to predict how jurors would behave based on their vaccination status.

“I would not assume that demographic differences, or differences in personal beliefs and attitudes, between vaccinated and unvaccinated jurors, would necessarily favor one side or the other in the Holmes case,” he said.

Despite this, the National Center for State Courts has issued a clear warning against weeding out unvaccinated potential jurors.

“Restricting the jury pool to persons who are fully vaccinated may make it more difficult to secure enough prospective jurors to select juries,” the office said. “Along with the coronavirus’ differential impact on people of color, public health experts have noted ongoing challenges in making vaccine distribution accessible to these communities, including higher rates of vaccine hesitancy in these communities.”

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“Excluding persons who are not fully vaccinated may make the jury pool less likely to reflect a fair cross-section of the community, which in turn may also increase the risk of jury challenges,” it added.

This vaccine nonsense has gone way too far, and if something isn’t done to get it in check soon, it is only going to get worse.

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