Senate Bill 310, which would expand the number of individuals eligible to serve on a jury, was amended this week in a way that prohibits anyone convicted of a felony sex offense from that service. The bill was amended on August 26 as it was being considered by the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.
“Once again, state legislators have thrown people convicted of a sex offense under the bus,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “Registrants are citizens and therefore should be allowed to serve on a jury.”
Significantly the bill would allow individuals convicted of a violent felony, including murder, to serve on a jury. However, the bill would not allow individuals convicted of a felony sex offense, including a non-violent, non-contact offense such as possession of illegal images, to do so.
“As amended, Senate Bill 310 violates both the 6th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” stated Bellucci. “If this bill becomes law, it will be challenged in court in order to protect the civil rights of registrants.”
The original version of Senate Bill 310 was introduced on February 15, 2019, by Senator Nancy Skinner. That version of the bill did not exclude individuals convicted of a sex offense from serving on a jury.