|Posted:||June 1, 2021 09:38 AM|
|From:||Representative Rick Krajewski|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Jury Reform: Including Our Impacted Communities in Our Courts|
|Both the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Pennsylvania guarantee citizens the right of trial by jury. It is a fundamental right and while designed to provide an impartial trial to the accused as well as a check on governmental power, how we select juries needs to be examined in the 21st Century.
Pennsylvania currently prevents anyone convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year from ever serving on a jury. This includes all felonies, but also misdemeanors of the first and second degrees. Pennsylvania is one of only a handful of states to have such strict exclusions regarding juror qualifications. We should be removing barriers that prevent them from fully engaging with their community at large instead of upholding existing ones, particularly when it comes to our legal system.
Not only is a lifetime ban on jury service wrong from a moral standpoint, it also prevents juries from being truly reflective of communities throughout this state. My legislation will take the first step in righting this wrong by allowing people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor of any degree to serve on juries. This common-sense proposal will bring Pennsylvania in line with the vast majority of other states on this issue.
My legislation is a question of fundamental fairness and would better ensure each jury really is a “jury of one’s peers”. I ask all my colleagues to join me in this important effort.
Introduced as HB1655