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Grand Jury Diversity Given Lip Service

July 04, 1993

This letter is in response to the article "Orange County Jury Lacks Diversity, Critics Say" (June 28).

In 1979, an Orange County Superior Court judge, with my permission, submitted my name as an applicant to the Orange County Grand Jury, At that time I was 30 years old, a graduate of UCLA and I had taught English at Spurgeon Junior High School in Santa Ana.

I was enrolled at Cal State Fullerton pursuing a biology degree, but I was willing to devote one year to the grand jury. My husband, a young Latino attorney, and I owned our home in Yorba Linda and we did not have any children yet. We were both involved in community and civic affairs.

I was not selected to serve on the grand jury.

I am appalled to read the comments about "begging and pleading" for applicants from community and minority groups. What better community representative did the Orange County Grand Jury need than a young, university-educated Chicana, with no criminal record and involved in her community?

The white male recruiter for the grand jury, on the other hand, was hostile, badgering and very pro-prosecution during his interview.

I felt that I had a civic and moral responsibility to serve on the grand jury and I am still outraged that I was not allowed to serve.

It is a tragedy that the Orange County Grand Jury selection process only pays lip service to reflecting the community's racial and ethnic composition.

LINDA MARTINEZ AGUIRRE

Cowan Heights

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