On Jan. 1, the rules will change. A new law by Berkeley Democratic Sen. Nancy Skinner will allow Californians with most former felony convictions who are no longer on parole or probation to serve on juries.
Advocates say the law brings California one step closer to solving racial disparities that exist in the jury selection process: One in five African-American men in California is barred from jury service because of a prior felony, according to 2017 research. And that complicates efforts to ensure every defendant a jury of his or her peers.
The opponents say former criminals should not be allowed to serve on juries because they are much more likely to be biased against police and prosecutors.