Friday, April 26, 2013

Immigrant Jurors in California?

Noncitizens have long been barred from serving on juries as well as voting, both of which have been reserved for U.S. citizens.  This has significant justice system impacts in areas with high concentrations of immigrants, such as California, New York, and Florida.  The Sacramento Bee reports that immigrants lawfully residing in California would be eligible for jury duty under a bill passed by the Assembly yesterday. Current state law allows only U.S. citizens to serve on juries. However, the state Constitution does not bar immigrants from jury service.  Assembly Bill 1401 would no longer exclude "lawfully present immigrants" from jury lists. The bill was written by seven Democrats on the Assembly Judiciary Committee, including the chairman, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont. "You are not required to be a citizen to participate in the judicial process as a party, as a witness, to work for the courts or even be a judge," said another author, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville. "It's only a requirement to be a juror. It's not a requirement to be a citizen to serve in the military, either."


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