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Letters: Citizen judges

May 10, 2013

Re "The case for citizen jurors," Opinion, May 3

AB 1401 is a bill in search of a problem.

The need to expand the pool of jurors to include noncitizens due to high no-show rates has no empirical support. Our no-show rate is generally predictable, which is why we summon more jurors to satisfy the need.

As a Los County Superior Court judge, I have spoken to thousands of citizens answering the call of jury service. I convey to them that they should view their summons as an invitation to be considered "citizen judges" in a trial. My role is to give the law.

Nowhere in government is a citizen so directly empowered than in a courtroom hearing jury trials. It is a civic duty and a privilege of citizenship.

Many permanent residents choose to keep that status even when they qualify to apply for citizenship. Whatever their reasons, the privilege of serving as a "citizen judge" should be reserved to citizens.

George Genesta



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