California may let non-citizens serve on juries

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SAN DIEGO — California could soon become the first state in the nation to give non-citizens the right to serve on jurors.

Assembly Bill 1401 would allow legal non-permanent residents the right to serve on a jury.

Under current law, only U.S. citizens can serve on juries, but many immigration rights advocates believe those who live in the United States legally but are not citizens should also have that right.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 8.07.21 PMThere are people who’ve been in the United States for many, many years and for one reason or another have chosen or cannot become U.S. citizens, but feel part of their communities,” said immigration rights advocate Pedro Rios.

It’s why he and others are calling on California Governor Jerry Brown to sign the bill, but republicans who unanimously voted against the bill, claim non-citizens aren’t familiar enough with the American legal system and its values to serve in a jury.

“Not all societies share the same believe that you’re innocent until proven guilty,” said Assemblyman Rocky Chávez of Oceanside.

“In other countries, it’s sometimes appropriate for the male of the house to use force against his spouse, here we call that domestic violence. If you had somebody who saw that element in a different light you’d have a different outcome,” Chávez said.

Chávez also told Fox5 there’s no need for the measure given there’s no lack of jurors reported statewide.

Still, those in favor of extending the right to legal residents say not signing this bill into law is un-American.

“If we look at the history of jury duty, there was a point when women were not permitted, so looking at how history provides for an expansion of rights, we need to continue that tradition,” said Rios.

Governor Jerry Brown has until October 13 to sign or veto the bill. He could also choose to allow it to become law without his signature.


    • Open your eyes!

      I agree,
      This is un~American and should be stopped now! moonbeam, you better open your eyes and stop this bill from going any further! You flipping liberals are strangling this state into a third world country! Stop this now! The system in place is working fine, this will only open the door to major problems if this bill is passed!

  • Mark K

    Hey illegals!! Come to California aka Mexifornia! It’s every illegal wetback Mexican’s dream! Welfare, wic, section 8, food stamps, never have to pay taxes, you can work too! Just steal someone’s social security number…you get more benefits than actual California taxpayers!

    Smh California you make me sick to my stomach. What an awful state.

  • wendy

    If they have chosen not to become citizens or they cannot become citizens so be it, they should not vote or be on a jury. I'm sorry I have NOTHING against any particular race (except redneck) but we have a system that works and only in California would this even be considered. WHY should they sit on a jury, WHY? How the hell do we claim to be protecting our country from terrorists and the like, if we are just going to be putting it in the hands of others? It's not that these people are bad, it is just that they have different values and beliefs which do not coincide with our own values and beliefs.

  • Britannie Lafalle

    Damn, I decided not to become a citizen just so I didn't have to serve on jury duty! F-king politicians! Leave well enough alone! Jury duty should be voluntary, not mandatory!!

  • ekmcmahon

    I can't believe this. Don't get me wrong, I am not prejudice but how can a non-citizen judge a full citizen of our country? If they want to be on jury duty then let them do what is necessary, become members of the country. It is like playing for the San Diego Padres when you are a member of the New York Yankees. I agree with Scottie 1111 and Wendy above. This is not right.

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