CA State Assembly Votes to Remove Citizenship Requirement for Jurors


Credit: Reason

The California State Assembly has passed a bill that would remove the citizenship requirement for jurors, allowing "lawfully present immigrants" to serve on juries. The bill, AB 1401, is now heading to the California State Senate. According to the Associated Press, if the bill is signed into law California will become the first state to allow non-citizens to be jurors. 

From US News:

The California State Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to remove the requirement in state law that jurors be U.S. citizens.

The bill, AB 1401, passed the state assembly with 45 votes in favor and 25 votes in opposition and now goes to the state senate.

The legislation allows the jury pool to be extended to "lawfully present immigrants." Potential jurors are pulled from state Department of Motor Vehicles records. The bill does not drop the requirement that would-be jurors speak English.

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  1. The hell with that.

  2. “lawfully present immigrants” — Don’t we call them “citizens?” I’m confused.

    1. I know this will come as a shock, but apparently there is some sort of legal mechanism by which foreigners are screened and allowed to live in this country, short of becoming citizens. It’s some sort of archaic law that still seems to be on the books.

      1. Yes, it is like 100 years old and nobody writes that way anymore. Just like the Constitution.

    2. mumble mumble green card mumble

    3. Where do you live that forces legal residents to become citizens?

    4. It’s still confusing because most Americans cannot distinguish between lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and other aliens legally residing in the US (on visas or with some other legal status). So, I don’t even know now if “lawfully present immigrants” are exactly the same group as lawful permanent residents.

  3. Hey, their urine is as good as a citizen’s to serve on a jury of a peers.

    1. Good, that typo will be my excuse when no one laughs at my joke.

    2. I see what you did there.

  4. Why not just go to a no ID required jury pool, just like voting?

    1. And why not just select the jury pool on a first-come-first-served basis?

      1. Yes, anybody who wants to make $25 a month, plus 3 meals and a motel room, line up at the courthouse for jury duty.

    2. I actually think that is a great idea. Why does it matter if they know the names of the jurors? I say pick juries completely at random and make them bigger.

    3. I’ve never been asked to show ID when reporting for jury duty. I guess theoretically I could hire somebody to be me for the day and probably would never get caught.

  5. Conventional wisdom suggests that this move would increase the dollar amounts of settlements awarded by CA juries. This could be bad for doctors and anyone else who buys liability insurance there.

    1. There are still doctors in California? I thought RNs were the wave of the future.

    2. How does conventional wisdom suggest that? Are people who aren’t US citizens well known to like big jury awards or something?

    3. And anybody who sells anything at all. I work in class action law, and you would not believe the crap that you can get sued for in California. One case I work on involves a clothing store hit with a class action lawsuit for the heinous crime of asking customers for their email address.

  6. Does this mean I pick up one of those guys standing outside of Uhaul to do my jury service for me?

    1. Skip you as the middle man. The bailiffs can do that directly.

  7. What difference, at this point, does it make?

  8. This state just continues to blow harderer and harderer. Although demographically it does make sense.

  9. Just another way to fuck immigrants. Now they can’t even get out of jury duty.

    1. Precisely. As someone who enjoys the benefits of not being a US citizen (NTTAWWT), being free from jury duty is one of my top 5 perks. They summoned me once, after I got a speeding ticket and was therefore on their radar, and I gleefully replied that as a non-citizen unfortunately I was not permitted.

      1. I vote regularly (permanent absentee voter) and drive, and have not been called for jury duty since 1986 or so.

        I’m really curious as to why, and actually think it my responsibility to serve on a jury once in a while and nullify a few laws, but I know I will always be excused for being too damned frank about what I think of their idiocy. So I don’t inquire; they wouldn’t tell me, they would just start calling me, and it would just waste my time showing up only to be excused for not showing proper deference.

        1. I have not been called in the 17 years since I was dismissed from voir dire for answering that I wouldn’t necessarily follow the judge’s instructions on the law. I presume I’ve been blacklisted

          I’d hope that that were the reason California is running out of jury candidates. But of the 20-30 people who had the opportunity to answer the judge’s question as I did, I was the only one who did.

          1. I’ve been called twice for jury duty, back in 1986, but just sat in the waiting room until dismissed without anyone even calling my name.

    2. Feeney has a different definition of “allowing” than I do.

  10. Let the immigrant hatred flow!

  11. Supporters of the legislation point out that women were not allowed to serve on juries in many parts of the U.S. for much of the twentieth century.

    Probably the most offensive part of that article. Because having a citizenship requirement is totally the same as not letting women serve on juries. Hell not letting “Non-citizen’s” vote is a travesty of justice the same as segregation!

    1. Worse, they have to show a PHOTO ID. The GALL of some people.

      1. A photo ID?! WTF! Its just like the jim crow south!

  12. Isn’t not having to serve on juries one of the benefits of being an alien? This is just one more “fuck you” to legal immigrants.
    You don’t get to vote, but we’ll still make you serve on juries.

  13. Will a jury of immigrants have the same constitutional protections vis-a-vis jurors and defendants? I don’t think so.

  14. Huh. Well, there ya go.

  15. Wait, does this mean that they’ve got such a high incidence of non-compliance from citizens that they need to backfill with non-citizens to take up the slack from the number of drug war cases?

    1. It’s California.

  16. In theory, citizens are supposed to have undergone a sort of civic catechesis. In the case of native-born citizens, this would mean some civics classes, maybe even having a judge talk at their school. In the case of naturalized citizens, studying for the citizenship test ought ideally to let them know about basic principles of American institutions like juries.

    In practice, I’m not claiming this is an accurate model. Certainly not in California. Yet in general, I imagine that citizens are more likely than green-card holders to know the basics of juries, presumption of innocence, etc.

    If there is an alien group which is in special danger of oppression, then maybe they can be given representation on juries – medieval England used to do this. Yet that would only apply if an alien was a party to the case, not for intra-citizen disputes.

    1. Oh boy, your immigrant hard-on is like an iron bar today, isn’t it, you utter douche. Of course it is.

      1. Speaking of immigrants, the pool boy wants your mother to return his jock strap.

    2. In theory, citizens are supposed to have undergone a sort of civic catechesis.

      What theory is this now? As far as I know all a citizen is supposed to have done is to have been born in the US or naturalized as a US citizen. The latter probably have gotten some civics lessons, but there is no reason to assume the same of natural born citizens.

      1. To repeat what I already said: “In practice, I’m not claiming this is an accurate model. Certainly not in California.”

        Yes, in theory native-born citizens are supposed to get some civics. But in practice I admitted they don’t always get such instruction.

        The public-school fluffers make a lot of hay about the power of the public schools to teach Americanism. Though the public schools have in many places (like California) given up that objective.

        If you want to see real patriotic instruction, you’ll have to look at the private schools (apart from the madrassas and the hippie Quaker schools).

    3. Yet in general, I imagine that citizens are more likely than green-card holders to know the basics of juries, presumption of innocence, etc.

      I bet you one fun token that if it were actually tested, you’d find out that the average green-card holder has a better grasp of the Constitution than the average native born American.

  17. Awful law imo. Just awful.

    And I see Epi is engaging in the “hate” canard. Typical. He sounds like a liberal criticizing a libertarian on affirmative action or welfare.

    One can believe it’s bad policy without “hating” immigrants. It’s a way to impugn an argument by attacking motives vs. addressing the meat of the argument itself.

    1. Oh, “canard” is back. I’ve missed that, Dunphy.

  18. Clearly all of you in CA are getting good at avoiding jury duty.

    So a green card holder has to
    1) pay higher income taxes (than non-residents)
    2) pay payroll and ss taxes
    3) (New) do jury duty.
    4) stay in the us for at least 8 months every year else will lose ability to come back (but still owe taxes, see 1)

    and in return can:
    1) stay in the us and work without too much hassle.
    2) can spend time with kids and grand kids without too much hassle
    3) not vote
    4) (in some cases) not give money (ie talk to) politicians
    5) be deported any time the cops feel like it.

    Summary: Green Card leading to citizenship is
    a) Still least better than H1 B limbo.
    b) Might not be better than moving to Canada after your PhD. (You tend to get to participate in civic life in 3 or 4 years rather than the 11 years or so for US)

    Yay !

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