California Expands Jury Rolls
Gov. Newsom has signed Senate Bill 592 (“SB 592”) into law. Effective next year, SB 592 requires jury commissioners across the state to include anyone who files state taxes in the pool of prospective jurors. Currently, prospective jurors are summoned from lists of registered California voters and licensed drivers, which total approximately 47 million people. While there will likely be significant overlap, SB 592 is expected to add several million more names to the jury pool, including residents who presumably are not registered to vote and who do not drive, but who do file state tax returns.
According to state senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who co-authored the bill, the measure is needed because, “Our juries now in California are wealthier and whiter than California residents as a whole, and certainly wealthier and whiter than most of the people who they are sitting there to judge.”
This follows a recent trend in California to expand the jury pool. Last year, Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill 310, which allows convicted felons to serve on juries (with some exceptions).