Multnomah County Sends Jury Summons' to Convicted Felons

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Portland, Oregon 97204
Multnomah County Jury Summons:
Multnomah County Jury Summons
Multnomah County Jury Summons

Multnomah County sent the founder of CopBlaster.com a jury summons this week despite the fact that he has three federal felonies on his record and two of those are technically violent crimes (threatening communications for emailing a death threat to someone and causing bodily injury while assaulting a federal employee for slapping someone under contract with the Bureau of Prisons). As a convicted felon whose rights have not been fully restored he may not be eligible for jury duty under state law and even if he is eligible there is no way any prosecutor would allow him to sit on a jury, plus his medical conditions put him at higher risk of dying from COVID-19. According to the Oregon State Bar Juror Handbook (https://www.osbar.org/public/jurorhandbook.htm):


"A person is also not eligible if he or she has been convicted of a felony and is in state prison, or has received a suspended sentence conditioned on service of county jail time or has had his or her probation revoked and must serve any portion of a suspended sentence ... For trials of criminal cases only, no person may serve on a jury who has been convicted of a felony or served a felony sentence within the prior 15 years."


He has returned his juror eligibility card explaining that he not eligible because of his federal convictions and the fact that his rights have not been restored under federal law. There could be some differences between requirements however in Oregon's state courts and federal courts. Under federal law a person otherwise eligible may sit on a jury if they have "never have been convicted of a felony (unless civil rights have been legally restored)"(see source link above article). Under Oregon law, things are a little less clear, see Oregon Revised Statute 10.030 (https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/10.030) which states that people may sit on juries unless "(d) Has had rights and privileges withdrawn and not restored under ORS 137.281 (Withdrawal of rights during term of incarceration)." Under ORS 137.281 a person serving a sentence in state prison gets some of their rights back including the right to act as a juror in a civil case "the rights and privileges withdrawn by this section are restored automatically upon release from incarceration" (https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/137.281), but what about federal felonies for which rights given up are never restored under federal law? A literal reading of ORS 10.030(2)(d) would suggest that federal felons are not eligible because the only right specifically restored upon release from federal custody under ORS 137.281 is the right to vote, or maybe they might conclude that serving a term in federal prison is covered by any term or imprisonment and therefore they are eligible to serve on civil juries in state court despite still being banned federally.


Eligible or not, he has had asthma his entire life and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease." (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/asthma.html). That is why people with asthma are advised to "avoid crowds." Avoiding crowds is why he has yet to attend any police brutality protests despite really wanting to go. Avoiding crowds means avoiding courtroom, jury boxes, small rooms packed with jurors, and larger rooms packed with potential jurors. He has a legitimate fear that showing up for jury duty would endanger his life and for that reason he would rather pay a contempt fine than risk it. According to the court website people that "do not have high risk conditions" are expected to show up (https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/multnomah/Pages/default.aspx). He added his asthma as a reason that he should be excuse, hopefully the court excuses him.


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