Editor: Much has been said about the fundamental obligations of citizens participating in jury duty. This is a requirement to allow the constitutional right to trial by jury in both criminal and civil cases. It is a burden and jurors are inconvenienced and some experience real hardships. Those sacrifices are not unnoticed or unappreciated by the Jury Commissioner or court staff.
Recently a judge in Mohave County was forced to declare a mistrial when fifty-eight jurors from a list of ninety-three failed to show up for the trial. When the re-trial convened the judge requested sixty jurors and seventy-seven appeared. Judges estimate the number of jurors needed for each trial. Staff is then forced to estimate the number of jurors who will appear when summoned.
Earlier this week jurors were called to the courtroom of another judge only to be told they could go home because the defendant had entered a plea of guilty.
These are just some of the daily frustrating moments we experience in the courts.
However, even if jurors are not seated for a jury panel, their time is not wasted. Although it may seem to be a waste of time for those summoned, their attendance is critical because the parties and their lawyers know that we have jurors ready to begin their trials. That certainly is often what it takes to resolve cases one way or the other. From a juror’s perspective, their service seems to be unproductive waiting, but it truly is not. Court staff does everything we can to use the juror’s time wisely. We understand their service is…
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