Appellate Court Denies Registrants Access to Jury Service

Source: ACSOL

An appellate court in California today issued a decision that, in effect, denies everyone convicted of a felony sex offense who is currently required to register from serving on a jury.  According to that court, serving as a juror “is not a fundamental right” and the exclusion of those registrants from juries “serves the legitimate state goal of ensuring impartial jury verdicts.”

Today’s decision by the First Appellate District Court of Appeal is the court’s response to an appeal filed in November 2021.  In that appeal, plaintiffs asked this court to review a decision by the trial court granting a demurrer requested by the government.

“The court’s decision today is not consistent with the state constitution’s provision of equal protection for all citizens,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “Therefore, review of this decision will be requested by the California Supreme Court.”

The court acknowledged in today’s decision that there was no reason stated for excluding registrants in the legislative history of Senate Bill 310, which allows most felons to serve on a jury.  Despite this acknowledgment, the court concluded that the Legislature could have determined “that a person who has been convicted of a felony sex offense and is currently required to register as a sex offender might harbor a continuing resentment and bias against the system that has imposed the ongoing registration requirement.”

In addition, the court stated that his determination “provides a constitutionally permissible plausible reason for excluding current sex offenders registrants from jury service to promote the legitimate state goal of assuring impartial juries.”  Further, the court stated that registrants convicted of a felony sex offense “are more likely to harbor bias than person convicted of felonies generally on account of their ongoing supervision and legal obligations.”

Download the decision:

Court Decision – Dec 2022


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So the solution according to the judge is to get rid of the registry.

How did the court find any of those statements? They are all pulled out of thin air. They sound like a non-fact-based opinion to me. They “are more likely to harbor bias than person convicted of felonies generally on account of their ongoing supervision and legal obligations.” Really? What data justifies that statement? All this shows is that the courts are political theater just like any other government entity. They don’t actually make decisions on evidence but rather feelings or hunches. Mere intuition even. Absolutely pathetic!

Go get ‘em Janice!
And why would we harbor resentment or bias…………..😎

Last edited 1 year ago by Lone Ranger

The next lawyer should drop the whole registrant = parolee nonsense. We should argue we’re not involved in the criminal justice system at all, and use their own decision against them. We’re not being punished after all according to Smith V Doe. So we should be compared to regular population. There’s no doubt we’re being treated differently than someone without a conviction.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jack

required to register as a sex offender might harbor a continuing resentment and bias against the system that has imposed the ongoing registration requirement.””
which clearly is another reason to remove the registration requirement!

So what about misdemeanor registrants? Wouldn’t they harbor the same bias?

“that a person who has been convicted of a felony sex offense and is currently required to register as a sex offender might harbor a continuing resentment and bias against the system that has imposed the ongoing registration requirement.”

I thought the registry wasn’t supposed to be intrusive on an individual. Yet, with the court’s statement, the registry is so intrusive that it “might harbor a continuing resentment and bias against the system that has imposed the ongoing registration requirement.”

This, my friends, is sheer cognitive dissonance and how the courts recognize registrants as not equal citizens that deserve equal extension of constitutional rights. IMO, it all started back when 1203.4’s benefits were disregarded for registrants with respect to right to privacy/reputation.

First Appellate District Scam of Appeal. Our so-called “courts” are a scam.

“…ongoing supervision and legal obligations” sounds awful punitive, doesn’t it?

I would have argued that if a registrant were on trial for another offense, sexual or not, then the right to a “jury of his peers” would have to include registrants. Who better to understand all the trials and tribulations of registration. Not to mention that too many prosecutors and courts already consider registration all the evidence necessary to convict of any crime, present or future, regardless of facts.

LOL, so the family members of the registrant, especially those living together doesn’t “harbor a continuing resentment and bias against the system that has imposed the ongoing registration requirement.”?

I didn’t get called to come in to the court on my last summons but oh boy they’re going to hear about how I feel when they ask me!

Registrants have the privilege of automatically getting out of jury duty.

Why jeopardize that?

“Ongoing supervision”

So, does this mean we’re in custody and it’s then obviously punitive?

But …. it’s perfectly okay for those convicted of identity theft, witness tampering, fraud, violent assault, etc. to serve on juries….. but not registrants. Absolutely ridiculous! 😠

We matter. Our opinions matter.

You damned right we reserve THE RIGHT to judge! Even more so than those that haven’t been through the system.

Don’t let anyone silence or suppress your voice

So you have criminal cases and civil ones that both require a jury. In civil cases where is the nexus between “[serving] the legitimate state goal of ensuring impartial jury verdicts” and having a previous criminal sex offense conviction? There is certainly no logic for that connection.

So, this court admits that registrants have an ongoing supervision and registry requirement. The court admits the registry IS PUNISHMENT! Let’s see this argument presented when overturning Smith vs Doe once and for all.

They’ll always find some way to say potential jurors can harbor certain resentments. That’s what people are still saying about the black jurors in the OJ Simpson case who wanted to some how “get back at the white man.” How about recognizing the fact that blacks, felons abd registrants are all capable of being fair and impartial. I would gladly serve on a jury if I was summoned in my state

Not to be too obtuse here_ But when ever i get a Jury Duty notice in the mail i am all to happy to tell them that i am a homicidal maniac and what time and what court house should i go too.

Wow, I’m glad I saw this article since I recently received a post card summons and still wondering what my obligations are after reading this unconstitutional California Assembly Addendum to an otherwise thoughtfully designed Senate Bill to allow convicted felons to serve on juries which not only serves to further marginalize an already over regulated class of people but also robbing every California courtroom the chance to seat a diverse and impartial jury. Do I ignore the summons and wonder if I’ll be punished for that or do I have to somehow tell the court I have been deemed, “Unsuitable, biased and resentful of the system without so much as having an opportunity like every other jurist to reveal their own biases in front of lawyers and judge?” My resentment is toward shallow-minded, uninformed, politicians who decided to throw a class of (registered) citizens under the bus and convince the masses of our continuing threat
to society. I honestly believe I would be an excellent jurist, I haven’t missed an election since turning 18 nearly fifty years ago—I even voted by mail in jail while serving my time.

To say registrants may be biased against the system is pretty weak point. Juries are supposed to determine facts. In every voir dire I’ve ever read. potential jurors were always asked if they can set aside whatever biases they might have and make a decision based on the facts before them. I don’t recall a prospective juror ever being asked if they thought the system was fair, though I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. Regardless, opinion of the system is irrelevant. 

Ever been stuck on jury duty? Ugh.
We might just want to let them have this one. LOL