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Court fetes jurors

Week is honoring those who serve

In Del Norte County last year, 15,612 people were summoned to jury service; 4,829 were eligible and available to serve; and 252 were sworn in as trial jurors.

Now the Superior Court of Del Norte County wants to say thanks during Juror Appreciation Week, which continues through Friday  as designated by the California Legislature.

“Our judges and court staff would like to thank all our jurors for their valuable time and service in our courtrooms,” said Sandra Linderman, Del Norte’s jury commissioner. “We hope that everyone in our community cherishes the rights of those in a jury trial as they do the rights we all enjoy every day outside the courthouse.”

Local court officials also used the occasion to note that advances in technology have presented both benefits and challenges in the courtroom and for jurors. In recognizing the meaningful role of jurors and providing access to fair and impartial justice, courts statewide are instructing jurors to turn off social media.

“With the growing use of social media, we are directing jurors not to ‘tag,’ ‘friend,’ and ‘tweet’ about anything that takes place in the courtroom,” said Del Norte Presiding Judge William Follett.  “We want jurors to be aware that researching and disseminating trial-related information, which applies to all forms of electronic and wireless communication, is prohibited. As we move forward with the many accomplishments in our jury system, we need to focus on the courtroom so that jurors and litigants will continue to benefit from impartial and fair trials.”

“Focus on the Courtroom” posters reminding jurors to switch off social media will soon be displayed at courthouses across the state.

In addition to the rise of social media, there have been numerous other changes to jury service in California over the last 15 years. Two notable improvements are the one-day or one-trial system that makes jury service more manageable, and plain-language jury instructions that makes jury service more understandable.

In fiscal year 2009–2010, millions of Californians participated in jury service:

Approximately 10 million people were summoned to jury service;

More than 3 million prospective jurors were eligible and available to serve; and

About 200,000 jurors were sworn in as trial jurors.

The number of jurors who completed their service in one day increased from 66 percent in 2001 to 83 percent in 2010.

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