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Can You Serve On A Jury If You Were Convicted Of A Crime In Michigan?

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Criminal Procedure |


To qualify as a juror in Michigan, a person must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • “Be a citizen of the United States, 18 years of age or older, and a resident in the county for which the person is selected…”. MCL 600.1307a(1)(a).
  • “Be able to communicate in the English language.” MCL 600.1307a(1)(b).
  • “Be physically and mentally able to carry out the functions of a juror.” MCL 600.1307a(1)(c).
  • “Not have served as a petit or grand juror in a court of record during the preceding 12 months.” MCL 600.1307a(1)(d).
  • “Not have been convicted of a felony.” MCL 600.1307a(1)(e).

A person convicted of a misdemeanor offense is NOT barred from serving on a jury.  However, a person convicted of a felony no matter how long ago it had occurred is barred from serving by statute.  As long as the felony conviction is on your criminal record, then you are prohibited from engaging in jury service in state court.

A felony conviction not only bars service in state court but also in the federal courts.  “Any person [is] qualified to serve on grand and petit juries in the [United States] district court unless he-“

  • “Is not a citizen of the United States eighteen years old who has resided for a period of one year within the judicial district.” 28 U.S.C. 1865(b)(1).
  • “Is unable to read, write, and understand the English language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to fill out satisfactorily the juror qualification form.” 28 U.S.C. §1865(b)(2).
  • “Is unable to speak the English language.” 28 U.S.C. §1865(b)(3).
  • “Is incapable, by reason of mental or physical infirmity, to render satisfactory jury service.” 28 U.S.C. §1865(b)(4).
  • “Has a charge pending against him for the commission of, or has been convicted in a State or Federal court of record of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year and his civil rights have not been restored.” 28 U.S.C. §1865(b)(5).

A felony in Michigan includes any offense punishable by more than one year incarceration, so ANY felony conviction in Michigan would disqualify you from federal jury service.

Despite this statutory prohibition, it is still possible for a convicted felon to end up being called for jury service in Michigan.  This can result from a mistake at the county clerk’s office or that the potential juror did not disclose the felony on the juror questionnaire form.  If a potential juror does not satisfy any one of the statutory qualifications for jury service including prior felony convictions, then a party may challenge the potential juror for cause.  MCR 2.511(D)(1).  If “the court finds that a ground for challenging a juror for cause is present, the court on its own initiative should, or on motion of either party must, excuse the juror from the panel.”  MCR 6.412(D)(2).  Finally, “[w]hen the court finds that a person in attendance at court as a juror is not qualified to serve as a juror, or is exempt and claims an exemption, the court shall discharge him or her from further attendance and service as a juror.”  MCL 600.1337.

What can a convicted felon do to restore the right to serve on a jury panel?  Depending on the number and type of felony convictions, a person may be eligible to expunge his or her prior felonies under Michigan’s Clean Slate laws.

“A person who is convicted of one or more criminal offenses may file an application with the convicting court for the entry of an order setting aside 1 or more convictions…”.  MCL 780.621(1).  However, the following exceptions apply:

  • A person could have all of his or her convictions set aside unless he or she has more than 3 felony offenses. MCL 780.621(1)(a).
  • A person cannot have more than 2 convictions for an assaultive crime set aside during his or her lifetime. MCL 780.621(1)(b).
  • A person cannot have more than 1 felony conviction set aside for the same offense if the offense is punishable by more than 10 years imprisonment. MCL 780.621(1)(c).

“For purposes of a petition to set aside a conviction, more than 1 felony offense… must be treated as a single felony… conviction if the felony… convictions were contemporaneous such that all of the felony… offenses occurred within 24 hours and arose from the same transaction, provided that none of those felony… offenses constitute any of the following:

  • An assaultive crime. MCL 780.621b(1)(a).
  • A crime involving the use or possession of a dangerous weapon. MCL 780.621b(1)(b).
  • A crime with a maximum penalty of 10 or more years’ imprisonment. MCL 780.621b(1)(c).
  • A conviction for a crime that if it had been obtained in this state would be for an assaultive crime. MCL 780.621b(1)(d).

Expungement is not available for ANY of the following offenses:

  • No expungement for felonies where the maximum penalty is life imprisonment or an attempt to commit a felony where the maximum penalty is life imprisonment. MCL 780.621c(1)(a).
  • No expungement for child abuse in the second degree (MCL 750.136b(3)), possession of child sexually abusive material (MCL 750.145c), use of computer to commit sex crimes (MCL 750.145d), criminal sexual conduct in the second degree (MCL 750.520c), criminal sexual conduct in the third degree (MCL 750.520d), or assault with intent to commit sexual conduct (MCL 750.520g). MCL 780.621c(1)(b).
  • No expungement for criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree (MCL 750.502e) if the offense occurred on or after January 12, 2015. MCL 780.621c(1)(c).
  • No expungement for a conviction for operating while intoxicated by any person, a traffic offense committed by an individual with an endorsement on his or her operator’s or chauffeur’s license to operate a commercial motor vehicle was actually operating the commercial motor vehicle, and for any traffic violation that causes injury or death. MCL 780.621c(1)(d).
  • No expungement for a felony conviction of domestic violence, if the person has a prior misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence. MCL 780.621c(1)(e).
  • No expungement for a conviction related to bondage or forced labor (MCL 750.462a through MCL 750.462h) or a conviction related to a terrorist act (MCL 750.543a through MCL 750.543z). MCL 780.621c(1)(f).

If you are plagued by a prior felony conviction that is inhibiting your full participation in civic life, including service on a jury, then you should see if your prior record is eligible for expungement.  Our skilled criminal lawyers can properly advise you and determine if you can get a fresh start.  We can help you through the entire process to set aside your qualifying criminal record from filing with the court to the hearing with the judge.

If you have further questions or need legal representation, then do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Kershaw, Vititoe & Jedinak PLC for assistance today.


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