Since a landmark case in 1880, the state of California has been legally allowed to keep convict felons from sitting on juries, even after they’ve been released.
The new proposed bill would remove that ban, and instead only exclude felons who are currently in prison or jail.
Some in the South Coast law enforcement community don’t think that change is a good idea.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s office issued a statement opposing the measure, objecting that in some cases, the felons have been convicted of serious violent crimes, and it would be unfair to the other jurors to have to deliberate with them.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael Schwartz says that the DA’s office would be willing to reconsider their position with some compromise
“We’d be comfortable with allowing felons for non-violent offenses to serve on juries," Schwartz says. "If they have fully paid their debt to society and are off of parole and probation.”