Senate panel delays vote on bill to allow ex-offenders to sit on juries

The fate of a bill that would allow people with criminal convictions to serve on juries is unclear after a key vote on it was scuttled Monday and the bill’s sponsor appeared to withdraw his support of it.

Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson), who chairs the Senate’s judiciary committee, said he’s “not 100% comfortable with the legislation.”

“I have some concerns. I’ve gone back and forth on the bill myself, even though it has my name on it,” Stack said.

New Jersey is one of a handful of states that have a lifetime ban on people who have been convicted of an indictable offense from serving on juries. Critics of the ban say it restricts the state’s pool of eligible voters, leads to juries that are not racially diverse, and furthers the punishment of ex-offenders who have served time for their crimes.

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