MEDIA ADVISORY: September 28, 2023

Media Contact: Valerie Ibarra,


Judging Juries – Sneak Preview Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Filmmaker and city leaders to discuss the urgent need and pending legislation to diversify California criminal juries


Judging Juries, a new documentary by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Abby Ginzberg, reveals some of the barriers to representative juries and the consequences of depriving Californians of a jury that includes a fair cross-section of their community. While many issues contribute to the lack of diversity in the jury pool, low juror pay is at the top of the list. In California, jurors receive just $15 per day, creating financial hardships for many people who can’t afford to take the time off to serve.

This film could not come at a more important moment, as Gov. Gavin Newsom weighs whether to sign Assembly Bill 881 (Phil Ting) – which was unanimously passed by the California Legislature — that would drastically increase juror pay and build off the success of San Francisco’s innovative Be The Jury program. The San Francisco Be The Jury program pays low- to moderate-income jurors $100 per day for serving, and juries have become more economically and racially diverse as a result. After the first year of the program, 60% of Be The Jury program participants were people of color, mirroring San Francisco’s racial makeup.

The city leaders behind the Be The Jury program will join the panel after the screening of Ginzberg’s 22-min film to discuss the importance of the state bill, which would make California the first state in the country to raise juror pay to $100 per day in select counties. If signed into law by the Governor, AB881 will make a huge difference in transforming juries. By eliminating the financial hardship that prevents many people from carrying out this civic right and duty, Be The Jury CA will ensure more diverse juries and improve the fairness of our justice system.

WHEN: October 3, 2023, from 5-7 PM

WHERE: Manny’s, 3092 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103

WHO: Immediately following the short film will be a panel discussion, moderated by KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk correspondent Marisa Lagos, featuring:

  • Assemblymember Phil Ting
  • San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju
  • San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros
  • San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins
  • Former juror Gamage Carter
  • Retired Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte 

RSVP & MEDIA INQUIRIES: Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the event. Please RSVP as space is limited. To request more information or interviews, please contact Valerie Ibarra at at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.


ABOUT THIS EVENT: This film screening and panel is co-hosted by Abby Ginzberg, Social Action Media, the San Francisco Financial Justice Project in the Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, the San Francisco Bar Association, Assemblymember Phil Ting and Akonadi Foundation.



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