Non-citizens may soon be able to serve on jury duty

April 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
California is one step closer to being the first state in the country to allow non-citizens to serve on a jury.

Some lawmakers in Sacramento want to expand the jury pool by allowing non-citizens to serve. The bill passed the assembly Thursday. The measure would allow non-citizens who are in the country legally to serve as jurors.

Proponents say the bill will help with the shortage of jurors.

According to the assistant presiding judge of Fresno County Superior Court, qualified jurors are in need and any increase to the jury pool would help.

Charles Magill, criminal defense attorney said, "The reality is the jury is supposed to look like California. It's supposed to look like the people that are on trial that are accused of crimes."

Jim Patterson said, "The important threshold here for this high privilege of civic responsibility ought to be citizenship."

Those eligible will still need to be at least 18 years of age, and be proficient in English. The bill now moves to the State Senate.


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