ACSOL’s Conference Calls

Conference Call Recordings Online
Dial-in number: 1-712-770-8055, Conference Code: 983459

Monthly Meetings: Dec 14 – Phone | details (2020 Dates added)

Emotional Support Group Meetings (Los Angeles, Sacramento, Phone)

ACSOLCalifornia

CA: Registrants Challenge Jury Pool Exclusion

Five registrants have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court challenging a new state law that allows all felons, except those convicted of a sex offense, to serve as jurors. According to the lawsuit, the new law violates the equal protection clause of the state’s constitution.

The new law, which began as Senate Bill 310, did not initially exclude registrants from jury service. That version of the bill passed the Senate, however, the bill was later amended to exclude registrants in the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.

“There is absolutely no reason given in the legislative history of Senate Bill 310 for the exclusion of registrants from jury service,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “And there is no rational basis for that exclusion.”

As currently written, the law allows individuals convicted of murder, kidnapping, robbery and other violent offenses to serve on juries. Prior to passage of the bill, one law enforcement organization complained about that possibility. Specifically, the Riverside County Sheriffs Association stated, “SB 310 would force law-abiding citizens into close proximity with violent offenders, creating dangerous situations in closed jury rooms and during sequester. Law-abiding jurors have agreed to fulfill their civic duty to serve. They have NOT agreed to spend the day, weeks or even months in close quarters with convicted gang-bangers.”

Supporters of the new law, including the ACLU, stated that the new law was necessary in order to ensure that California’s trial juries better reflect the diversity of this state. They noted that the state’s prior felony jury exclusion had an adverse impact on racial minorities, especially black and African American men. One of the four plaintiffs in this case is an African American man, one is a Hispanic man, and one is a Hispanic woman.

According to one committee report on the bill, “despite California’s recent efforts to reform the criminal justice system, one in three African American men will be convicted of a felony at some point in their lives. Denying over 30% of a demographic group the ability to serve on a jury significantly limits a litigant from that group the ability to try a case before a jury of their peers and disproportionately excludes that segment of the population from the vital democratic institution of jury service.”

According to another committee report on the bill, “automatic jury exclusions of those with criminal records should be abandoned.” This position is based, in part, upon the results of scholarly research which concluded that “juror eligibility facilitates changes in convicted felons’ self-concepts, promoting prosocial identity transformation, tempering the stigma of a felony conviction and prompting the discovery of self worth.”

Join the discussion

  1. David

    Excellent!! 😁
    I especially like the scholarly comment: “juror eligibility facilitates changes in convicted felons’ self-concepts, promoting prosocial identity transformation, tempering the stigma of a felony conviction and prompting the discovery of self worth.” 👍
    Absolutely!!

  2. G4Change

    Good luck to ACSOL with this case. Thank you for your continuous representation of us all!

  3. Agamemnon

    All the best wishes and prayers for Janice in this case

  4. Tim in The I

    As a man facing FTR here in WI a registered person on my jury would tickle me pink, however the DA would surely use a preemptive challenge to put that person out of the pool. In WI the law prohibits felons from serving on juries.

    Best of luck with this challenge ACSOL again stands against the tide of affirmative disability.

  5. steve

    Personally I’d rather not go and be questioned if I have a felony and have to say I’m an R/C in front of the rest of the jury pool. What if someone you work with is in the same pool, you’re outed and fired. IMO wasted time and would rather see us fight the scheme.

    • Will Allen

      Always strikes me as odd that people are concerned about people where they work finding out. It is literally a supposed key goal of the Registries that people that you work with would know that you are listed. So many criminal regimes simply publish the work addresses along with home addresses, etc. Don’t states have to publish work addresses in order to be compliant with the POS AWA? No need to answer, I can read some day.

      Personally, I found it much easier to not worry about being listed or anyone’s opinion about it. That removed a lot of issues for me. I’ll tell anyone at any time but I never do it without extra commentary. If someone asks and I feel like answering I might say something like, “I am listed on the worthless, idiotic $EX Offender Registries.”

      Interesting aside that is not directly relevant, some criminal regimes publish vehicle information, including license plate information. People can already buy license plate readers which can track, process, store, or do whatever license plate information. It is likely only a matter of time when Registered vehicles will be tracked all over the place and the locations, etc. recorded in thousands of databases. Numerous neighborhoods where I live are already talking about it. Everyone should look forward to the day when about half of the country is walled and gated off and everyone’s location is tracked and recorded all over. America is only getting nicer.

      • steve

        Easy to say when you don’t have a lot at stake ($) and others counting on you. Congratulations if you do and can have that state of mind.

        • Will Allen

          It’s a lot more accurate to say that I literally do not care about anyone’s opinion regarding it. Really, no one’s. I do care if someone will try to harm me, my family, or my friends because of it (physically, lost business, whatever). But I had to insulate myself pretty well from that in order to live a peaceful, successful life. It was necessary for me. And a key thing about that today is that if someone harms me, I must do 10 times worse to them. That’s a problem in itself. So I can’t let those possibilities be around much.

          Good luck.

      • Janice Bellucci

        @ Will Allen – Regarding your comment that states have to publish a registrant’s work address. The fact is that some, but not all, states publish a registrant’s work address. The good news here in California is that the state does not do so.

        • Will Allen

          I was just questioning if states have to publish the work addresses in order to be compliant with SORNA (or whatever they are calling that federal POS … AWA or whatever). I’ve read it before a number of times, guess I just haven’t cared enough to remember. But if it matters, I can not be lazy and read it. Thanks for responding.

    • Neil

      This case is not a waste of time. It is not just about securing a registrant’s right to serve on a jury. The point is to prevent the government from automatically excluding registrants from every benefit that they extend to everyone else through legislation. Such exclusions are ubiquitous in legislation, and are a major reason why registrants have fewer rights than other people. Think of this as another battlefront, separate from the battlefront over the registry itself. Also, this case has the advantage of being winnable, unlike an attack on “the scheme,” which has no chance of winning under the present law, or the present composition of the courts.

  6. AJ

    *****
    Specifically, the Riverside County Sheriffs Association stated, “SB 310 would force law-abiding citizens into close proximity with violent offenders, creating dangerous situations in closed jury rooms and during sequester. Law-abiding jurors have agreed to fulfill their civic duty to serve. They have NOT agreed to spend the day, weeks or even months in close quarters with convicted gang-bangers.”
    *****
    As always, in the mind of a TBL, “once a criminal, always a criminal.” As a class they simply do not believe people make mistakes, nor do they believe in rehabilitation.

    • Will Allen

      I can relate. In my mind, once an immoral, lying, criminal cop, always an immoral, lying, criminal cop. I certainly wouldn’t want to serve on jury duty with any cop.

      I mean, I drove into the city yesterday and was reminded how such a large percentage of the general population are just a bunch of awful, self-entitled, hateful pieces of sh*t. I likely wouldn’t want to serve on a jury with a good 90% of people. We should ALL be offended that we should ever have to interact with anyone else that we might find offensive. It is so funny that seemingly the most important thing in America today is that people can’t be offended and yet it grows more offensive every day. Sad country. Registries are helping.

    • Tim in WI

      AJ,
      Always pretending to be benevolent aren’t they. In reality LE Unions insist on playing to both sides of the aisle and both sides of the bill of rights. Union delegates offer an extra layer of protection from prosecution from wrong doing. Our DOC veterans tend to let the less experienced agents carry the tazer. That tactic is chosen for cover.

  7. wihz

    This is because they’re just trying to tighten the reigns on the sex offense hell. They don’t want RSOs to expose jury trial secrets such as Marsys law protections that can make an accuser a phantom and support animals that can “ease a victim’s testimony” before lying at trial.

    Oh! Riverside? No wonder, yeah that’s good old Mike Ramos’ cess pit backyard. Wait, didn’t he get voted out last year? I see the prick can’t enjoy his forced retirement in peace, he’s still trying to screw the falsely accused. Maybe it has something to do with Kamala Harris trying be Prosecutor in Chief and keep the Marsy’s law hell rolling cross country…

    Hm…

  8. New Person

    In the words of Miracle Max, “Good luck storming the castle!” I wish you all well in this pursuit.

    I am curious, though, as to specifically how the equal protection will be used in this case because of the possibility to be used in a parallel case. Thx in advance for the answer (from anyone).

  9. USA

    For many people, this might be a blessing. Yet, it’s our right to serve as a juror. Does a murderer have more rights? If we allow this to stand, what’s next? Park ban? Beach ban? Mountains ban? Mall ban? Freeway ban? Halloween (whoops) ban? Church (whoops) ban? You can’t go out at night? Special license plates?

  10. Someone

    Why not make the law that felons can’t serve on juries adjudicating crimes similar to the one(s) they were convicted of? This would mean SOs can’t serve on juries in sx crime cases, drug dealers can’t on drug cases, etc. Would that make too much sense?

  11. Kilroy

    The right to a trial “before a jury of your peers” may have had its place in the old west when the prairie lacked judicial infrastructure, but it such an outdated concept. These days the only jurors are retired folks, public servants who get paid for their service and those stupid enough not to get out of jury duty.

    So one can be expected to spend time in a small room with a convicted murderer but not a teacher who had a relationship with a 17 year old student? If sex offenses are categorically so objectionable that they require registration one can still be expected to spend time in a small room with a registrant based on a misdemeanor offense?

    The whole thing is laughable. I almost wish it would be left alone to show the punitive and irrational nature of the whole scheme.

    • Warren

      I have served on jury duty 5-6 times since I was released from parole, and always felt it was an important civil responsibility as an American, as it is an honor and privilege to serve on jury duty.

      I for one I’m glad and support that were going to LA Superior Court to fight the exclusion of registrants from jury service. Best wishes to Janet on this case for representation of all of us!

  12. David

    @ New Person:. First, the publicity itself is valuable as it will make members of the public consider why those convicted of sexual offences should – or should not – serve on juries, often many years after the offense, conviction and punishment. It also provides an opportunity for plaintiffs’ attorney to argue using reason, facts, scholarly research and statistics, while defense (State) attorneys are left arguing the standard myths, rhetoric & sophistry. Additionally, a winning case for the plaintiffs – and ruling/findings that include a judge’s own well-stated understanding of the facts – can be very valuable in future litigation. (I’m certain more arguments can be made, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind.)

  13. TS

    As someone who wore the uniform for many years, I volunteered to fight for those who could serve on juries regardless of what their history is. Whether you want to serve on one or not is up to you, but one should not be excluded from having the ability to do so. Excluding people is not what our country is about even though it’s an ugly stain that lives daily.

    @kilroy – interesting perspective on peers.

    Peer Law and Legal Definition. A peer is a person’s equal. The U.S. Constitution guarantees criminal defendants a “jury of one’s peers,” which means an impartial group of citizens from the judicial district (e.g. county) in which the defendant lives. (
    USLegal › definitions › peer
    Peer Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc.)

Leave a Reply

We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...  
  • Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  • Please keep the tone of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  • Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  • Please refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  • Please take personal conversations off this forum.
  • We will not publish any comments advocating for violent or any illegal action.
  • We cannot connect participants privately - feel free to leave your contact info here. You may want to create a new / free, readily available email address.
  • Please refrain from copying and pasting repetitive and lengthy amounts of text.
  • Please do not post in all Caps.
  • If you wish to link to a serious and relevant media article, legitimate advocacy group or other pertinent web site / document, please provide the full link. No abbreviated / obfuscated links.
  • We suggest to compose lengthy comments in a desktop text editor and copy and paste them into the comment form
  • We will not publish any posts containing any names not mentioned in the original article.
  • Please choose a user name that does not contain links to other web sites
  • Please send any input regarding moderation or other website issues to moderator [at] all4consolaws [dot] org
ACSOL, including but not limited to its board members and agents, does not provide legal advice on this website.  In addition, ACSOL warns that those who provide comments on this website may or may not be legal professionals on whose advice one can reasonably rely.  
 

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer this question to prove that you are not a robot *

.