Jury Duty for Non-Citizens

The justice system in the UK and abroad

Jury Duty for Non-Citizens

Postby Andreas » 29 Apr 2013, 19:38

Bad news from California:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-immigrants-jury-20130427,0,5896026.story

One of the bill's authors, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), said the proposal would help ensure an adequate pool of jurors, help immigrants integrate into American society and make juries more representative of California.

Juries "should reflect our community, and our community is always changing," Wieckowski said. "It's time for California to be a leader on this."


The same specious reasoning is used to justify the admission of students who are not qualified into our universities. The consequences of this action would be worse, though; a watering down of the notion of U.S. citizenship, or even the very notion of the state. No doubt the people who are pushing this see this as a first step toward voting rights for non-citizens. I hope the California State Senate does not approve this bill. Even if it does, there is certain to be a legal battle over this.

The quality of our jurors is already questionable. If anything, we need to move in the direction advocated by Peter Hitchens, and require some demonstrable degree of education before allowing any citizen to serve on a jury.
Andreas
 
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Re: Jury Duty for Non-Citizens

Postby Nathan » 29 Apr 2013, 20:35

Oh dear. Going by that logic why not let illegal immigrants vote too, if "reflecting the community" is the be-all and end-all and not delivering justice? Surely having to be proficient in English should also go and people should be allowed to use Spanish, or any other language for that matter, as I bet that would reflect modern Californian life?

I have a question: has the multicultural make-up of juries caused trials to collapse due to culture clash or lack of understanding of the judicial process? It happened here in Britain not so long ago - apparently an inability to understand written English isn't even compulsory to sit on a jury in this country, and a few of the jurors couldn't understand fairly basic English words and legal concepts.

The idea of being judged "by your peers" who aren't in any meaningful sense your peers at all is fairly new to us, but I would presume major American cities have been in this position for some time. The day when a Muslim terrorist trial is thwarted by there being enough Muslims on the jury who refuse to convict one of their kind whatever the evidence is surely on its way.
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Re: Jury Duty for Non-Citizens

Postby Jonathan » 01 May 2013, 08:11

Nathan wrote:It happened here in Britain not so long ago - apparently an inability to understand written English isn't even compulsory to sit on a jury in this country, and a few of the jurors couldn't understand fairly basic English words and legal concepts.


I think Dalrymple wrote an article about that trial, though I cannot find it online right now. He postulated that if the jurors had actually been so stupid as to need the explanations they requested, they would not have submitted such grammatically correct and precisely phrased questions. The conclusion was that the jury had deliberately suborned the legal process, though I cannot recall the reason he suggested.

Quite apart from that, I have an uncle who lives in Washington D.C., who briefly described his Jury experiences to me a few years ago. If I recall correctly, the discussion revolved so completely on racial lines that he found he could take no part in it.
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Re: Jury Duty for Non-Citizens

Postby Andreas » 01 May 2013, 17:06

I have been called up for jury duty a few times but never served. Based on anecdotal evidence, proceedings in the American jury system are not on a high intellectual level. Attorneys are eager to eliminate anyone with any higher education during the selection process. An acquaintance of mine was called up and her thought, waiting in a room with other potential jurors, was, "These are not my peers."
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Re: Jury Duty for Non-Citizens

Postby Elliott » 01 May 2013, 17:42

This might be an obvious question, but why do attorneys not want jurors who have higher education?
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Re: Jury Duty for Non-Citizens

Postby Andreas » 01 May 2013, 17:45

From what I've heard, attorneys want jurors who are less intelligent, less likely to question things, and who can be more easily manipulated.
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Re: Jury Duty for Non-Citizens

Postby Andreas » 02 May 2013, 16:27

Andreas
 
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