Should ex-cons serve on juries?

June 23, 2016

Recently, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order, restoring the voting rights of roughly 200,000 convicts who have completed their sentences.  Approximately 5,000 of those people have since registered to vote.

In signing the order, Governor McAuliffe also made those former criminals eligible to serve on juries. In response, some Virginia prosecutors have asked the governor for a list of the names of those former criminals eligible to be restored to the jury rolls.  According to an article in the Washington Post, one such prosecutor has stated,  “It’s insulting to victims, especially in very sensitive cases, to have someone who has committed that crime sit in judgment of the person who has wronged you. I don’t think it’s fair for a child victim if I’ve got a sex offender sitting on the jury.”

The Governor’s office has refused to provide that list, and a spokesman for the Governor has stated that “[The Prosecutor’s] request was a political ploy by Republican prosecutors to embarrass McAuliffe — and prosecutors have the means to vet potential jurors.”  The Governor has also noted that “convicted felons have always been able to get their rights restored in Virginia. . .  A felon’s rights are automatically restored after they complete their parole or supervised probation, and once they register to vote, they become eligible for jury duty.”

So one view is that they did the crime; they did the time; and their debt to society has been paid.  

The other is that convicted felons should not be permitted to serve on juries, even after they have finished serving their sentences.

What do you think – Should the law allow ex-cons to serve on juries?