I hope every reader of the Californian took the time to read Cynthia Zimmer’s Community Voice piece about proposed California Senate Bill 310 ("COMMUNITY VOICES: Proposed law allowing convicted felons to be on criminal juries advances in state Legislature," Aug. 6). This bill, passed by the Senate earlier this year, is so ludicrous it is difficult to understand how any person of even average intelligence could cast a vote in favor of it.
I suspect most senators didn’t study the bill, but just voted along party lines as they are prone to do. This bill, as I understand it, would allow convicted killers, sex offenders, gang members and drug dealers to sit as trial jurors on criminal and civil cases. All defendants on trial are considered innocent unless convicted in a court of law. If one finds himself or herself on trial by jury, they are to be tried by a jury of their peers; peers is defined as equals. I do not personally know anyone whose peers are convicted felons. Should this bill be signed into law by the governor, any of you who find yourself on trial as a defendant, rightly or wrongly, could have your future in the hands of a jury made up entirely of felons, which under proposed Bill 310 could be reality. I implore all of you to write the governor and your state representatives, as I have, to express your concerns about the ramifications of this bill, should it be signed by the governor.
Ernie Bentley, Bakersfield