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A new California law allows many former inmates with felony records to serve on juries.
The “Right to a Jury of Your Peers” law allows felons to serve on juries if they have finished their prison time, unless they are still on parole, probation or other post-prison supervision. Registered sex offenders with felony convictions will still be banned from jury service.
The law is intended to make California juries more representative of the state’s population. Thirty percent of black men in California couldn’t serve as jurors because of the felon ban, according to the bill’s author, Democratic state Sen. Nancy Skinner.
About two dozen states permanently ban felons from jury service, according to California State University law professor James Binnall, who spoke with the Recorder. A dozen allow service, while a handful of others allow only some felons to serve.