Public Safety organizations and attorneys are criticizing Assembly Bill 3070 for preventing crime victims from achieving justice in court. Signed into law in January 2022, AB 3070 requires parties at trial justify the proposed removal of a juror during jury selection.
Legislators passed AB 3070, arguing it would create a more equitable and transparent jury selection process. Prior to the law, parties at trial could strike potential jurors without stated reason. While pre-existing law prevents parties from discriminating against jurors based on race, nationality, religion, disability, or other group identity, parties weren't required to justify their proposed removal of a juror.
However, lawyers and prosecutors now argue AB 3070 has the unintended consequence of preventing them from removing jurors exhibiting bias against their clients.
RLS attorney Nicole Castronovo believes AB 3070 prevented prosecutors from removing jurors biased against law enforcement in a recent high-profile case.
Nicole represents Meagan McCarthy, a former San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy. Meagan was attacked in 2019 while responding to a domestic violence call. The domestic violence suspect was filmed engaged in a physical altercation with Meagan before seizing her service pistol and shooting it. Despite video evidence and witnesses, the jury acquitted the suspect of attempted murder and assault on a police officer, convicting him only of negligent discharge of a firearm.
Nicole argues individuals on the jury exhibited prejudice against law enforcement, and because of AB 3070, prosecutors were unable to remove them. Nicole believes thisultimately prevented her client from achieving full justice at trial.
Many other public safety organizations join in criticisms against AB 3070, including prosecutor organizations. They worry the inability to remove jurors who demonstrate bias will impede crime victims from gaining justice.