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California Closer to Allowing Non-Citizen Jurors

SACRAMENTO–

Governor Jerry Brown’s pen to the paper could in one swift motion ink out those excuses you’ve been practicing to get out of jury duty.

“The current jury pool is a little selective, I believe. We have trouble finding people who are willing to preform jury service,” said Sacramento attorney Mark Reichel.

Reichel does several jury trials a year, and each time he says it’s a challenge just listening to the excuses.

This would make the jury pool larger, which means you’d be call to serve less.

He says it’s a win-win.

“The best jury service is one that includes a fair cross section of the entire community, and the entire community often times is people who ware lawfully here but not U.S. citizens,” Reichel said.

The other side doesn’t believe there is a shortage of jurors – and they don’t believe non-citizens are our peers.

The law, if passed, would still require jury members to be 18 years of age and be able to grasp and understand the English language.

Mark Kowalewski, an immigration attorney, says most U.S. citizens don’t fully understand the law, that’s why we have attorneys.

“The various council, they have the opportunity to educate and explain the law to the jury pool … They will have an opportunity to render their decisions like U.S. citizens do,” Kowalewski said.