SAN FRANCISCO—Superior courts throughout the state will celebrate Juror Appreciation Week, May 11–15. The second week in May was established in 1998 by the California Legislature to acknowledge the important contributions of citizens who devote time in “making the cherished right of trial by jury a reality.”
“Serving as a juror is a fundamental obligation we all share as citizens, and being a juror is just as important as voting,” said Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. “The courthouse is where our citizens experience the judicial system first-hand. Our judicial system works because of the commitment and service by our community.”
Millions of Californians participate in jury service each year:
- Approximately 10 million people are summoned;
- Approximately 3 million prospective jurors complete jury service, either in-person or by phone. Nearly 130,000 jurors are sworn in as trial jurors;
- Most prospective jurors (80%) complete their service in one day.
As a group, jurors comprise the largest participant in the legal system. Over the last 18 years, the judicial branch has continued to look for ways to improve jury service to benefit users of the court system and the millions of Californians who serve each year. For example:
- The Judicial Council adopted rule 2.1002 of the California Rules of Court and enacted the one-day or one-trial policy in state courts effective July 1, 1999. By May 2002, “One Day or One Trial” was in effect statewide. Since that time, there has been an increase in the number of jurors who complete service in one day from about 66 percent in 2001 to 80 percent in recent years.
- Court and Community is an online resource that provides information on dress code, court amenities, and frequently asked questions for jurors. In addition, the judicial branch has produced information for employers about employees involved in the jury process.
- Ideals Made Real, a 14-minute jury service orientation video, provides an overview of the juror experience.
- Focus on the Courtroom posters are displayed in jury assembly rooms to remind jurors that inappropriate use of social media and the Internet is prohibited during a trial. What jurors “tag” or “tweet” and who they “friend” could be grounds for a mistrial or grounds for appeal, adding cost to taxpayers for a new trial.
- The Judicial Council adopted plain language jury instructions in criminal and civil trials, and jurors can ask permission to ask questions and take notes during trials.
For more information, visit www.courts.ca.gov/juryservice.htm.