Do Felons Get Jury Duty? Can you serve on a jury if you have a criminal record? This article is based on jury duty and felon. It helps to explain or educate the general public about a felon getting jury duty or not.
The write up covers virtually everything you need to know about this topic, thus clearing out any form of doubt you have been having concerning this topic.
It is an undisputed fact that virtually (if not all) every American takes part in jury duty at least once in his/her lifetime. But the next question that follows is, do felons get jury duty? This is what we shall be looking at in this article.
The question of whether felons are allowed to take part in jury duties has been on for years and many people are still not clear about it.
From a normal perspective, it seems like a felon should not be allowed to get jury service but is that a final judgment. This article covers all that needs to be known about jury duties as convicted felons.
The key points covered in this write up include:
- Understanding what jury duty means
- How a juror is selected
- Felons reinstatement of the right
- Types of disqualifications
What does Jury Duty mean?
From time past, felons are known to participate in the jury. To have a full understanding of this process, it is necessary first to define what jury duty is.
Simply put, jury duties are actions carried out in a legal proceeding to ascertain the innocence or guilt of an accused.
This service is usually done in both Federal and local court jurisdiction and it’s not a thing of choice but a requirement that must be meant when you get a notification for the task.
If a notice is sent to you, you can ask for either an extension or a dismissal, depending on the reason for the request.
How Did Jury Duty All Began?
When it comes to selecting jurors, individuals called upon for jury duties are either dismissed or selected to serve. As an employer, you have no right to sack your employee if he is called upon to serve.
This whole stuff about jury duty can be traced back to when Magna Carta (1) was written.
In the United States, jury duty used to be a procedure that was carried out prior to the Bill of Rights and drafting of the Constitution.
Grand jury was used in the olden times to help in drafting the law and to decide individuals that should be placed on trial.
Jurors Selection – How it is done (Do Felons Get Jury Duty)
If you’ve ever been convicted of an offense that was considered a felony, it is usually not possible for you to be called upon for jury duties.
This is so because the list of people for this task is collected from a list of voters. In most cases, a felon is not allowed to register for the voting process.
Therefore, there is no way their names can be found on the registrar list. Nevertheless, this process can be subject to change and is dependent on the particular state involved.
Jury Service – Basic Requirements
A juror that has never been convicted for felon or felons whose records have been completely erased, which gives them the chance to serve in their state, must not be under 18 years and must have a legal backing of his state and country of their trial. Furthermore, he must possess a valid identity card or driver’s license.
Reinstatement of a Felon’s Rights
Felony is considered a severe crime that is committed by a person and for this reason, the majority of the states will never give felons the opportunity of jury duty.
However, an exception has been introduced to the process. Some states now allow reinstatement of rights once convicted felons have served their jail term rounded up their probation.
After this, felons can now vote again because their names will show on the voter’s registrar. If you are living in a state where rights are reinstated then serving as a juror is very much possible.
For example, felons who have gotten a pardon or whose records have been expunged can take part in jury service.
There is a close similarity between the Federal and state level when it comes to the service of the jury. Felons are never allowed to serve as jurors at the Federal level.
Peradventure his records are expunged or erased, he isn’t seen as a felon anymore and can carry out his jury duty at all levels – federal, state, and local. In order for a felon to serve, he must meet his probation requirement.
Types of Disqualification
There are 3 forms of statutory disqualification that can stop individuals from participating as a juror – mandatory disqualification, excusal based on the judge’s discretion, and excusal disqualification based on a juror’s request. Let’s take a look at each of these possible outcomes.
Any individuals who seem to be biased about an accused or have a mindset that will stop him from offering an unbiased decision are ruled out from participating and therefore placed under mandatory disqualification.
Convicted felons are also placed under this kind of disqualification –individuals who are guilty of larceny, perjury, forgery, or bribery – the only exception is if their rights are being reinstated.
Other ways through which people can be mandatorily disqualified is when a person lacks the basic knowledge of writing, reading, or analytical skills to know an issue or a person who is a full-time worker in law enforcement (except they are elected for jury duty).
Read also: Felons And Social Security
Excusal Based on the Jurors’ Requests
Another way through which individuals can be exempted from participating in a jury, upon request, is if the person is responsible for taking care of individuals who lack the capacity to fend for themselves or if the person is an expectant mom.
Parents who work as part-time workers and are in charge of offending kids below the ages of 6 can as well be left out from jury duties.
If you have already participated in jury duty in the last 12 months, you are also exempted from serving. This last exemption can also be classified under the mandatory disqualification category.
Excusal Based on Judges’ Discretion
Jurors can also be dismissed based on a judges’ discretion who works as a doctor or attorney or are infirm. A judge may exempt individuals called to participate in jury service because of general necessity or for a reason related to hardship.
You can only Participate in Jury Service If your Right is restored.
Concluding this write-up, let’s re-ask ourselves the intent of this piece. Do felons participate in jury duty? Usually, in most of the states in the United States, one can only participate in jury duty if his felony record is wiped off or expunged and you have your voting right back.
So long as the records are not expunged or erased, then you are not allowed to participate at the Federal, state, and local levels.
I hope this information is clear enough to help you know where you stand on this issue.
Robert Gomez was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He currently lives in Northern California with “the wifey,” “the kids,” “the dog,” and “that cat,” 🙁 He is also a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row. Felonyfriendlyjobs.org was born to help ex-felons get a second chance in life.