AUSTIN (KXAN)– A Travis County judge granted a defense attorney’s motion to bring in a new, more representative jury panel Monday, according to court documents.

The defense attorney in this case, Charlie Baird, contended the 75-member group of potential jurors did not fairly represent Austin’s Hispanic population. The client he represents is Hispanic.

“We noticed that the Hispanic population was underrepresented,” said Baird.

According to census data, the Hispanic population in Travis County is 33.4%. Baird said eight of the 75 potential jurors in Monday’s pool were Hispanic, which is about 10%.

“The systemic problem we have here is the continued underrepresentation of minority members of our community,” said Baird.

Judge Julie Kocurek granted the motion Monday morning. Her office told KXAN it cannot comment further on the motion because it’s still an active case.

The court document itself states the defendant’s motion asks to “compel a [jury panel] constituting a fair cross-section of the Hispanic or Latino population of Travis County.”

How jurors are selected in Travis County

The Travis County District Clerk’s Office said the jury pool is always selected randomly.

“There’s a lot of randomness that has nothing to do with race or ethnicity,” said District Clerk Velva Price.

Price said her office sends out about 5,000-6,000 jury summons based on a list of Texas ID holders from the Secretary of State’s office.

“Are you part of the 6,000 that gets sent out this week? Or are you a part of the 6,000 that gets sent out a month from now? That’s one random,” she said.

From there, Price said people get randomly chosen for jury pools based on several factors – including availability, when they fill out their summons paperwork and the randomization factor of the selection process itself.

This process, as well as the criteria to qualify as a juror, is based on state law, Price said. Below are some examples of questions you have to answer before you’re placed into a jury pool.

Jury criteria
Examples of criteria needed to serve on a jury in Texas.

“I’m not saying whether or not the way jurors are disqualified in my opinion is good or bad, but we follow the law,” said Price.

There is a demographics questionnaire at the end of the juror form – but it’s optional, and Price said that information does not impact the juror placement process.

You can learn more about juror requirements and Travis County’s online portal for jury registration here.

“I encourage everyone – if you get the jury summons, to respond, ” said Price. “That’s the best way for justice to be fair and impartial.”