A new law that would protect LGBTQ jurors from exclusion was signed into law with help from a local legislator.
Jurors in Illinois who are LGBTQ will no longer be able to be excluded from jury service simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity under a new law signed recently by Gov. JB Pritzker that was passed by State Sen. Toi Hutchinson.
In 2014, the 9th United States Circuit Court ruled that sexual orientation cannot be used as the sole basis for exclusion of a juror, protecting lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals from being excluded on jury panels. Since Illinois sits in the 7th U.S. Circuit, however, that ruling didn’t apply to the state.
In 2018, the American Bar Association adopted a resolution urging state government to include LGBTQ individuals in jury service non-discrimination protection. Senate Bill 1378 passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously.
Hutchinson, in a statement, said allowing jurors to be excluded simply because of who they love or who they are flies in the face of the kind of criminal justice reforms that all Illinoisans are working toward.
Michael Ziri, director of public policy at Equality Illinois – the state’s civil rights organization for LGBTQ people – thanked Hutchinson for her leadership on the measure and dedication to ensure equal treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ Illinoisans.
Other states that have similar inclusive jury service non-discrimination laws include Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, California, and Colorado.