A quarter of Black New Jerseyans can’t serve on juries. A new law could change that.

With about a quarter of Black residents in New Jersey banned for life from serving on a jury due to past criminal convictions, legislators and activists are advocating a change in the law so jury duty is open to all.

A similar effort is underway in New York state, which also prohibits jury service for those with past felony convictions. The New York Civil Liberties Union estimates that more than 40% of Black men are disqualified from jury service in Manhattan alone.

In New Jersey, the legislation to end the prohibition on jury service has lingered in the Legislature without final action for years, but Gov. Phil Murphy’s endorsement earlier this month gave it new life. Twenty-two states allow those with felony convictions to serve on juries, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, which also has an ongoing class-action suit challenging the jury exclusion.

Read more.