Capitol Alert: Jerry Brown vetoes bill on jury duty for legal immigrants

jwhite@sacbee.comOctober 7, 2013 

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have allowed legal immigrants to serve on juries, saying in a veto message Monday that the responsibility should be reserved for U.S. citizens.

This has been a momentous legislative session for immigrant advocates, who have seen Brown sign measures that allow undocumented immigrants to practice law, shield immigrants from labor discrimination, allow driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants and bar local law enforcement from detaining immigrants who have committed nonserious crimes.

But Brown drew the line at allowing non-citizens to preside over the legal fate of their peers, saying in a veto message that "jury service, like voting, is a quintessential prerogative and responsibility of citizenship."

"This bill would permit lawful residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury," Brown wrote in his message. "I don't think that's right."

Supporters of the legislation, Assembly Bill 1401, argued that it would relieve the strain on courts that have difficulty filling juries. They noted that the notion of who qualifies for jury service has evolved over time, since African Americans and women were once excluded, and suggested that the proposal would help legal permanent residents integrate into American society.

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service