HB 3057 Makes corporations eligible for jury duty

VOTE:NO – Died in Committee
Status (overview) of bill:https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023R1/Measures/Overview/HB3057
Committee assigned to bill:https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023R1/Committees/HRULES/Overview

This bill makes corporations eligible to serve on juries.  Any corporation organized under the laws of this state is eligible to act as a juror in a civil or criminal trial or as a grand juror. The corporation must act as a juror or grand juror through an individual agent of the corporation who would be eligible to act as a juror or grand juror.

The bill states: Whereas corporations are not natural persons; and
Whereas corporations are entitled to certain rights of natural persons but do not have all of the responsibilities of natural persons. The bill changes [person] to individual, assuming a corporation can be a singular entity identified as an “individual” thus attempting to give the corporation rights of a natural person.

How does this meet the constitutional right for a jury of “peers” having the same legal status in society? A corporation acting through an agent, could be a third party, legal firm, stockholder, CEO, employee, anyway you look at it, their interest is the financial well being of the corporation tied to their own financial well being, which doesn’t meet the Supreme Court ruling of having the same legal status in society.

The Supreme Court noted over a century ago in Strauder v. West Virginia, the jury should be drawn from a group “composed of the peers or equals [of the defendant]; that is, of his neighbors, fellows, associates, persons having the same legal status in society as he holds.”

The constitution right to jury is not having the jury based on stereotypes and prejudices, which an agent representing a corporation would be prejudice and not open minded if evidence goes against a corporation stance on an issue. Persons can be persuaded with evidence, but agents dare not go against who they represent, or their own well-being will be at stake.

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