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New law could allow convicted felons to serve on juries

A change in state law could make it legal for convicted felons to serve on a jury.

Posted: Jul 11, 2019 11:07 AM

CALIFORNIA - A change in state law could make it legal for convicted felons to serve on a jury.

The controversial bill, SB310, is making its way through California legislature and would allow convicted felons, once released from jail, to serve on juries. 

SB310 still has some time before it could become law, but for some, the topic being discussed is enough to raise some questions.

"I just don't think it's a good idea," said Anna Hubbart, who opposes the bill. 

Others, like Isaac Kravitz, say it's a great way to allow convicted felons to reform.

They are probably just being judgemental because of their background," Kravitz said. "People have their past and you live and learn you know."

In California, legislatures have already passed a law to allow convicted felons the right to vote. But it's the right to serve on a jury that could mean headaches for prosecutors.

"That would be extra questioning and that would be extra time that would be needed to talk to those folks who are on juries," said Ben Hanna, chief deputy district attorney for Shasta County. "You know, there are some concerns that potentially people who have been convicted of felonies in the past may have certain preconceived notions or biased about the criminal justice systems."

The district attorney's office also said the state already allows those who want to serve to go through a process to do that.

"I do appreciate that a lot of people have turned their lives around [and] are looking to become productive members of society," Hanna said. "And I applaud that but I would answer that there is a process for someone that really is interested in restoring those civil rights can go through and they can go through the process to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation."

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