Wednesday, January 18, 2006
USA Today has an interesting piece on lawyering post-Katrina in New Orleans and surrounding areas. Point Of Law focuses on the sheer number of lawsuits. The more interesting part to me (and one PoL does mention) is this:
The change in New Orleans' population likely will bring about another change in juries: They are likely to be whiter and wealthier than pre-Katrina juries. Before the storm, New Orleans' population was 68% black, the U.S. Census says, and more than 30% lived in households in which the income was below the federal poverty line, about $19,300 for a family of four.
Conventional wisdom (which I neither endorse or refute, simply observe) says the pre-Katrina demographics were plaintiff-friendly. Current indications are that many of the first residents to return to New Orleans are wealthier professionals, possibly with a higher proportion of whites. The impact on jury trials there -- and, not incidentally, on Houston where many Katrina refugees moved -- will be interesting to watch.