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Letters: Citizenship in the jury box

September 01, 2013

Re "Noncitizen jurors: bad idea," Column, Aug. 29

George Skelton implies that the qualification for a noncitizen to be a juror comes from "taking a course on Americanism and becoming a naturalized citizen."

I don't know how familiar he is with the immigration process, but I became a citizen two years ago, and there was virtually nothing in the materials I had to study that I felt prepared me for deciding whether a "peer" should go to prison, let alone live or die. And I have the suspicion that even many natural-born U.S. citizens feel that way.

Citing cultural differences, he quoted Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) as saying, "In some cultures … it's OK to knock around a wife." Which part of my study material said anything about that?

I come from a country that abolished the death penalty decades ago. Nothing I studied prepared me for having to decide whether another person should die.

Stefan Belger

Palm Springs


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