Calif. Gov. Vetoes Bill Allowing Non-Citizens to Be Jurors

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 7 2013 8:14 PM

Calif. Gov. Vetoes Bill Allowing Non-Citizens to Be Jurors

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A view of the jury box of a courtroom at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have allowed non-U.S. citizens to serve as trial jurors in the state. Last week, the state Assembly approved the measure that would have made California the first state in the country to allow non-citizens, residing legally in the country, to serve jury duty.

Supporters of the bill said it would help widen the pool of jurors in the state and help integrate immigrants into the community. A 2007 Center for Jury Studies survey, the AP reports, found that 20 percent of courts nationwide reported a failure to respond or failure to appear rate of 15 percent or higher.

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In vetoing the legislation, passed largely on a party-line vote with Democratic support, Gov. Jerry Brown wrote:

Jury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility of citizenship. This bill would permit lawful permanent residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury. I don’t think that’s right.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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