Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
Washington State Juror Commission proposes Improvements to jury serviceJune 05, 2000
Limiting jury service to one-day or one-trial.
Developing a statewide policy strictly enforcing the limitation of jury excuses, while liberally granting requests for postponement.
Providing jurors with complete information about jury service from the time they are summoned.
These are just a few of the dozens of draft recommendations developed by the Washington State Jury Commission as a standard for improving jury service and response rates in Washington courts.
Chaired by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Daniel J. Berschauer, the 30-member Jury Commission is comprised of citizen jurors, judges, court personnel, attorneys, labor and small business representatives, and members of the Washington State Legislature.
Focusing on the issues
Formed by the Board for Judicial Administration last year, the commission has met for the past ten months to, "conduct a broad inquiry into the jury system and examine issues including…juror responsiveness, citizen satisfaction from jury service, adequacy of juror reimbursement, and improving juror participation in trials".
Given the charge at hand, the group determined early-on which key areas needed exploration. Through three subcommittees, the following issues were studied throughout the year:
Recommendations for change
During Washington Juror Appreciation Week (May 1-7), a majority of the subcommittee's recommendations were drafted and posted online for public and court comment. (For a full listing of recommendations, please go to www.courts.wa.gov/jurycomm/)
New recommendations are continuing to be posted as they become available, and the Commission plans to sit down at its June 23 meeting to finalize recommendations to the BJA.
Among the highlights:
With the release of the proposed recommendations, Berschauer stresses the equally important goal of implementing real changes within the system.
"We've heard from citizens over the past year on their opinions on how to improve the system," he said. "The Commission is very dedicated to seeing that real reforms are made for all who serve on juries."
Nearing its goal
Striving to conclude its work within the year, the Jury Commission is currently reviewing the draft recommendations and public comments, and will finalize a report by month's end.
Following distribution of the Commission's final report, an implementation committee will be formed to propose ways of funding the recommendations, and to draft any legislative proposals necessary.
Jury Commission Recommendations:
For a complete list of the Washington State Jury Commission recommendations, visit the Jury Commission Homepage at www.courts.wa.gov/jurycomm.
Citizens and court members are encouraged to submit their comments in writing to: The Washington State Jury Commission c/o OAC, P.O. Box 41170, Olympia, WA 98504-1170, or by e-mail to: email@example.com.
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