FIRST DAY OF ONE-DAY ONE-TRIAL DRAWS HIGH JUROR ATTENDANCE
Macomb County’s one-day, one-trial jury system started today and the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds reports a near record turnout. 188 jurors responded to a jury summons today. Daily juror attendance averages 150. Today’s attendance percentage was the second highest ever recorded. The record is 191. The Macomb County Clerk attributes the better attendance to the new jury system. The new system shortens jury duty from one week to just one day for most jurors.
The Macomb County Clerk and Chief Judge Antonio P. Viviano pushed for the system to shorten jury duty and Macomb County circuit court judges recently approved a two-month test run starting today. Those summoned for Macomb County circuit court jury duty in November and December will be dismissed after just one day if they are not picked for a jury trial. Before the change jurors had to serve for four days.
The Macomb County Clerk expects the new system to save the county $15,000 per year. Jurors are paid $25 for their first day of service and $40 for subsequent days. The one-day, one-trial system uses more first days and fewer subsequent days. If the attendance percentage continues to be better under the new system, the county will realize even more savings than projected because fewer summonses will need to be mailed and processed to get the required number of jurors.
The United States Constitution guarantees the right to trial by jury. The framers of the United States Constitution considered both the right to a jury trial and the performance of juror service as sacred and necessary to preserve individual freedom. Juror service is viewed as a duty and privilege of citizenship and as a necessary check against government use of the courts to wrongly convict the innocent.
The Macomb County Clerk made other juror improvements last year. She started a program with the Suburban Mobile Authority for Regional Transport (SMART) providing free bus tickets to jurors. She also partnered with the Mount Clemens Public Library letting jurors request books on the Internet to be delivered to the jury room upon jurors' arrival. Both programs were done at no additional taxpayer cost.
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