Can Felons Serve on Jury Duty

Felons lose many basic rights when they get convicted. They include the right to vote and the right to possess firearms among others. They might also be disqualified from serving on a jury in most states after a felony conviction.

What is a Jury?

A Jury is a diverse group of people who examine the evidence and the arguments presented in the court and discuss them before pronouncing a verdict based on consensus.

Every member of the jury must satisfy the requirements as per the case and be competent to provide an unbiased opinion.

Jury members are often selected from diverse race groups and ideology groups so that different perspectives are considered in the collective decision.

For example, someone who has very strong views about gun laws may not be suitable to be a jury member for a case that is gun-related. A member of the jury is called a “Juror”.

A person can serve as a jury member if

  • They have basic reading and writing skills to understand the case.
  • They are not registered as a sex offender.
  • They will be able to deliver an impartial judgment and not have any biases against the defendant or have any strong views against the offense.

Can Felons Serve on Jury Duty?

Almost 30 states and federal governments continue to bar convicted felons from jury duty permanently. In many states, the jury is selected randomly from the list of people residing in the state.

Usually, the voter’s list in the state is used for this purpose. As felons lose voting rights in many states, their names might not appear on the voter’s list and they might be left out from the jury selection process even if their state does not explicitly ban convicted felons from becoming a jury member.

Some other states have additional requirements that leave convicted felons out of the jury selection process.

However, in some states like California that have been at the forefront of criminal justice reforms, a convicted felon can become a juror.

A new law called The Senate Bill 310, or “The Right to Jury of Your Peers” allows any person who has been previously convicted of a felony to be a juror in the state of California as long as they are not on parole or probation.

Similar attempts to allow felons to become part of a jury have failed in states like New York and Louisiana.

Can you serve on a jury if you have a DUI?

A person with a misdemeanor offense will not lose their voting rights and their name will still appear on the voter’s list.

So, a person with a misdemeanor will not automatically get disqualified from serving on a jury. So a person with a misdemeanor DUI can still be a part of the jury.

However, the selection of a jury depends on the nature of the case itself. So even if you are allowed to be a juror, you might be dismissed from the jury for a particular case.

Why some states advocate jury duty for felons?

Convicted felons often feel they have been treated unfairly by the system and can have resentment towards the process.

Allowing jury duty for felons can allow felons to become a part of the justice system and understand how the law works on the basis of facts and evidence and this might help them get a new perspective about their own case.

Also, felons will bring their own experiences to the table and provide diversity to the jury.


In most states, you can get your conviction records expunged after a period of 8 to 10 years from the time the crime happened. Having your records expunged can make you eligible to become a juror in states that do not allow convicted felons to become jurors.

Also, since jurors are selected from the voter’s list, you have to be eligible to get your voting rights restored.