This article examines the practice of restricting jury service to citizens. While some jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand, base jury eligibility on permanent residency status, others, such as Ireland and the United States limit it to citizens. This article examines sets out two principal arguments in favour of abolishing citizenship requirements. First, the need to ensure that juries are broadly representative of the community from which they are drawn. Secondly, the need to promote integration more generally, particularly as Western societies become increasingly multicultural. The article also considers specifically Irish constitutional and historical reasons why this citizenship requirement is difficult to justify.
The article below and the study it cites makes a strong argument for allowing non-citizen jurors. According to the article, in criminal proceedings, non-citizens face higher sentences than those who are citizens. The article goes on to say that undocumented non-citizens fared even worse. This article and the study give support to the bill that Governor Brown vetoed last year which would have allowed non-citizens, who were lawfully in the United States, to serve as jurors.
I would also note that allowing non-citizens to serve is not a new concept. For example, England, for close to 500 years, (the practice was eventually abolished by the Naturalization Act of 1870) permitted the jury de medietate linguae, or “jury of the half tongue.” In a jury de medietate linguae a non-citizen defendant was allowed the right to request that half of the jury consist of non-citizens. The practice which has been used in the United States, although not for quite some time, helps non-citizens receive fair treatment under the law.