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Calif. Assembly OKs letting non-citizens serve on juries

| Thursday, April 25, 2013, 9:21 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — The California Assembly passed a bill on Thursday that would make the state the first in the nation to allow non-citizens who are in the country legally to serve on jury duty.

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.

It does not change other criteria for being eligible to serve on a jury, such as being at least 18, living in the county that is making the summons and being proficient in English.

The bill passed 45-25 largely on a party-line vote in the Democratic-controlled Assembly and will move on to the Senate. One Democrat — Assemblyman Adam Gray, of Merced — voted no, while some other Democrats did not vote.

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.

The judicial branch has not taken a position on AB 1401.

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