Jordan Berman


Whether an Ohioan with a felony conviction can be considered for jury service may well depend on where he or she lives in the state or the judge presiding at trial, rather than the dictates of Ohio law. By statute, Ohio permits those with felony convictions to serve on juries upon the completion of any parole or community control sanctions that may have been imposed. This article is not concerned with this settled law but rather the dramatic unevenness of its implementation, as Ohio courts of common pleas, and even individual judges, vary widely in whether they abide by or even recognize this statutory directive. This article clarifies the current state of the law in Ohio regarding juror eligibility for those with felony convictions, examines the disparate approaches to this issue in the courts of common pleas in Ohio’s three largest counties, discusses the legal and constitutional implications of excluding jurors with felony convictions, and offers practical solutions to address these concerns. These solutions would preserve the rights of eligible Ohioans to serve on a jury along with defendants’ rights to be tried by a jury of their peers.

Included in

Criminal Law Commons