Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Pagers proposed to give Macomb jurors freedom
Jim Lynch / The Detroit News
MOUNT CLEMENS -- At lunchtime, they pour out of the courthouse and hit the streets of downtown Mount Clemens -- many looking unsure of their surroundings, but all wearing the same identification badge marking them as "Juror."
A juror's day often amounts to many hours of waiting at the courthouse, interrupted only by that short break for lunch. Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh is looking to make the experience a little more enjoyable by allowing jurors to enjoy downtown not just for lunch, but throughout the day if they're not needed.
Sabaugh has proposed issuing pagers to jurors waiting for assignment -- much like restaurants do with patrons waiting for tables.
"Jurors are important people and should be treated well," Sabaugh said in a statement Tuesday. "Why not let our jurors wait outdoors, shop or enjoy the restaurants the city has to offer until they are needed?"
Last year, 19,262 county residents came to Mount Clemens in response to their calls for jury duty. Of those, 1,724 spent time in the courtroom hearing a trial. For those others, waiting time is spent in the jurors' room, which features a few televisions but suffers from crowding.
Arthur Mullen, executive director of the Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority, feels it's an idea that makes perfect sense.
"About 350 to 370 people per week spend time here for jury duty," he said. "This would give them a great opportunity to go shopping, sit in a coffee shop or go window shopping.
"The more pleasant we can make the experience for jurors, the more people will enjoy the downtown."
Sabaugh is expected to pitch her plan to the development authority at 7 tonight at Mount Clemens City Hall.
You can reach Jim Lynch at (586) 468-0520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.