California May Allow Non-Citizens On Juries.

Jury-Box-ROHThe State Assembly of California has passed a bill that would allow non-citizens to sit on juries. By “non-citizens,” we don’t mean “non-citizens” or residents of the state. No, we mean non-citizens of the United States of America. The bill still requires the person meets all other jury qualifications such as age, being proficient in English, etc., but the prospective juror does not have to be a US citizen.

There doesn’t appear to be any Constitutional prohibition on non-citizens serving on juries, and the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Carter v. Jury Commission of Greene City that non-citizens may be excluded from jury service.

(In addition, the Supreme Court has ruled that the 14th Amendment protection applies to non-citizens, but some “essential” government jobs such as teachers, fire fighters, police, etc., may be limited to US citizens only.)

Without direct authority from the Constitution or the Supreme Court, we are left with the real question of “is it a good idea to allow non US citizens onto juries?”

We here at Raised on Hoecakes do not believe it is.

Before we explain why, it is interesting to see why the vote in the California Assembly was 45-25 mostly along party lines in the Democrat controlled Assembly.

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, said his bill, AB1401, would help California widen the pool of prospective jurors and help integrate immigrants into the community.


Democratic lawmakers who voted for the bill said there is no correlation between being a citizen and a juror, and they noted that there is no citizenship requirement to be an attorney or a judge.

Republican lawmakers who opposed Wieckowski’s bill called it misguided and premature.

Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point, said there is no shortage of jurors.

“Jury selection is not the problem. The problem is trial court funding,” Harkey said before the vote. “I hope we can focus on that. Let’s not break something; it’s not broken now. Let’s not whittle away at what is reserved for U.S. citizens. There’s a reason for it.”

First, we don’t believe the government has a duty to help “integrate immigrants into the community.” If that were the case, there would be laws requiring signs on commercial property to be in English only. Ballots would only be in English. We would outlaw, or at least discourage the use of hyphenated descriptions such as “European-American,” “African-American,” “Hispanic-American,” etc. No, as a society we would demand as society that all people here in the US be refered to as “Americans” without any other qualifiers.

While Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski’s seems to have a point on judges and lawyers not being required to be citizens, the difference is there is a price to be paid when a judge or lawyer screws up the law, goes outside the law, or violates the Constitution. In the case of a lawyer, they can be reprimanded or disbarred. For a judge, their cases can be overturned and sanctions given for failing to follow the law of the land.

No such repercussions would exist for jurors.

Our objection to this is more basic. It is simply “who ya playing for?”

When a person seeks to become a naturalized citizen, they take an oath which says:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

The first thing a person must do is to renounce their old citizenship – including allegiances to their previous country and its laws. The person then agrees to “support and defend the Constitution” – the law of the land.

“AH!” you may say, “jurors take an oath as well!” and you’d be right. They do take an oath to uphold the law.

But how knowledgeable of the Constitution and its basic legal premises is a non-citizen? To obtain citizenship, a person must take a course and pass a test on basic provisions and guarantees of the Constitution. A non-citizen has not gone through that process and there-in lies the rub.

Think about our criminal court system and the burden of proof. Two things will probably come to mind. The first is the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” and “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

These are concepts deeply engrained in our system of jurisprudence. They are fundamental cores of criminal trials.

The problem is that there are countries where the opposite it true – where a person is guilty and must prove their innocence. While we here in the US can’t really understand such a system, to those raised in that country it makes sense. It is what they were taught from birth and deeply engrained in them.

We are sure that we don’t want a person who has been raised on the idea of “guilty until proven innocent,” without any education to the contrary, and without any allegiance to the Constitution or the country to be determining the guilt of innocence of anyone.

Furthermore, while the concept of a “jury of ones peers” originally meant a jury of ones social status (such as a surf or nobleman) even that concept has been expanded to mean people of the same race, ethnicity, economic standing, etc.

Is it really a “jury of ones peers” when there is a person who doesn’t believe or understand the concept of “innocent until proven guilty?”

We don’t think so.

In our opinion, the bill is misguided at best.

One Response to “California May Allow Non-Citizens On Juries.”

  1. First, the non-citizens would not be “peers”, as required by the Bill of Rights.

    “Democratic lawmakers who voted for the bill said there is no correlation between being a citizen and a juror”

    But, they aren’t citizens, and should not be making life altering jury decisions when quite a few of these “immigrants”, and, let’s face it, most in Ca are from south of the border, can’t even speak English and make no attempt to be part of America.

    This is a case of Dems being Dems, ie, barking moonbats. And I can see lots and lots of “overturned on appeal” coming, which could mean real criminals let off when they shouldn’t be.

  2. […] Raised on Hoecakes brings the latest insanity from Brokeifornia, regarding illegals and juries […]