BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                        AB 87


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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING


          AB  
          87 (Mark Stone)


          As Introduced  January 7, 2015


          Majority vote


           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Committee       |Votes |Ayes                |Noes                |
          |----------------+------+--------------------+--------------------|
          |Judiciary       |9-1   |Mark Stone, Wagner, |Gallagher           |
          |                |      |Alejo, Chau, Chiu,  |                    |
          |                |      |Cristina Garcia,    |                    |
          |                |      |Holden,             |                    |
          |                |      |Maienschein,        |                    |
          |                |      |O'Donnell           |                    |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 


          SUMMARY:  Clarifies the prohibition against discrimination in the  
          exercise of peremptory challenges to prospective jurors.   
          Specifically, this bill aligns existing non-discrimination law  
          with jury selection law by defining discriminatory peremptory  
          challenges as those categories listed within  Government Code  
          Section 11135 subdivision (a), including race, national origin,  
          ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual  
          orientation, color, genetic information or disability. 
          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Provides that no eligible person shall be exempt from service as  
            a trial juror by reason of occupation, economic status, or any  
            characteristic listed or defined in Government Code Section  








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            11135 (as set out in 3) below), or for any other reason.
          2)Provides that a party may not use a peremptory challenge to  
            remove a prospective juror on the basis of an assumption that  
            the prospective juror is biased merely because of his or her  
            race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation,  
            or similar grounds.


          3)Prohibits discrimination by the state and state-funded entities  
            in all programs or activities with respect to race, national  
            origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual  
            orientation, color, genetic information, or disability, as  
            defined.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  None


          COMMENTS:  The author explains the reason for the bill as follows:


               The jury system provides the foundation for the  
               California justice system.  We rely upon an impartial  
               jury to yield fair and just results.  The jury, by law,  
               should be a cross section of the population in a  
               community.  Without specific protection from peremptory  
               challenges that are based on the assumption of bias,  
               because of gender identity, gender expression and other  
               innate characteristics, it is possible for many  
               community members to be excluded from prospective jury  
               service.  


               Under existing law, there is no specific protection  
               from peremptory challenges based on the assumption of  
               bias as a result of gender identity, gender expression,  
               ethnicity, age, genetic information, and disability.   
               This bill aims to protect against discrimination and  
               ensure all aforementioned parties are treated equally  








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               under the law with regard to jury service and trial by  
               a jury of their peers.


          This bill updates the peremptory challenge statute to make clear  
          that it may not be used to discriminate against prospective jurors  
          on grounds otherwise prohibited.  Existing law sets forth a list  
          of characteristics on which peremptory challenges to prospective  
          jurors may not be based.  That list has not been updated to  
          reflect changes in the state's general non-discrimination statute,  
          Government Code Section 11135, which arguably already governs  
          peremptory challenges by generally prohibiting discrimination on  
          the basis of race, national origin, ethnic group identification,  
          religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, genetic  
          information, or disability in any program or activity that is  
          conducted, operated or administered by the state or any state  
          agency, funded directly by the state, or receives any financial  
          assistance from the state.


          While the existing catch-all provision prohibiting discrimination  
          on "similar grounds" might be interpreted to cover all  
          characteristics within Government Code Section 11135, this bill  
          would make the point explicit and therefore give potentially  
          helpful guidance to courts, parties and their counsel.




          Analysis Prepared by:                                               
                          Khadijah Hargett / JUD. / (916) 319-2334  FN:  
          0000055















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