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NCJ Number: 62580 Find in a Library
Title: ONE DAY/ONE TRIAL
Journal: JUDGES' JOURNAL  Volume:16  Issue:3  Dated:(SUMMER 1977)  Pages:34-37,50-51
Author(s): J N CANHAM
Corporate Author: American Bar Association
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Association
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: AN INNOVATIVE METHOD OF JUROR SELECTION AND UTILIZATION, AS IMPLEMENTED IN WAYNE COUNTY, MICHIGAN, THROUGH AN LEAA GRANT IS DESCRIBED BY A CHIEF JUDGE OF THAT COUNTY.
Abstract: SEVERAL CRITICISMS OF THE EXISTING JURY SYSTEM WERE CONSIDERED PRIOR TO DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WAYNE COUNTY PROGRAM. FIRST, THE JURY COMPOSITION IS NOT USUALLY REFLECTIVE OF AN ACTUAL CROSS-SECTION OF A COMMUNITY BECAUSE OF THE HIGH EXCUSAL RATE. SECOND, THE LENGTHY TERMS OF SERVICE IMPOSE A HARDSHIP FOR THE SUMMONED POPULATION IN TERMS OF ECONOMICS AND INCONVENIENCE. THIRD, EXTENDED SERVICE OFTEN LEADS TO BOREDOM AND FRUSTRATION. THE ONE-DAY/ONE-TRIAL JURY SYSTEM BEGAN IN WAYNE COUNTY IN SEPTEMBER 1975 AS A 6-MONTH PILOT STUDY. UNDER THIS SYSTEM, JURORS WHO WERE NOT EMPANELLED BY THE END OF THE DAY WERE DISMISSED. THOSE JURORS WHO WERE ASSIGNED TO HEAR A CASE, SERVED FOR THE DURATION OF THE TRIAL, AN AVERAGE OF 3 TO 5 DAYS. PRESENTLY APPROXIMATELY 55 PERCENT OF THE JURORS ARE EMPANELLED. THE PROGRAM WAS DESIGNATED AN EXEMPLARY PROJECT BY LEAA. REORGANIZATION OF THE JURY SYSTEM INCLUDED AN OVERHAUL OF ALL OPERATION INVOLVED, FROM THE SELECTION AND SUMMONS THROUGH THE PAYROLL PROCESSES. NEVERTHELESS, THE NEW SYSTEM SAVED $288,000 A YEAR FOR THE WAYNE COUNTY COURTS, AND ENSURES THAT JURORS WILL NOT SPEND DAYS WASTING THEIR TIME WAITING TO BE CALLED. IN ADDITION, ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS INCREASED CITIZENS' FAVORABLE OPINIONS OF THE COURT SYSTEM. ANNUAL JUROR USAGE INCREASED FROM 2,800 TO OVER 24,000. BY MINIMIZING THE JURY TERM, THE GRANTING OF EXCUSES NOT TO SERVE IS LIMITED TO ONLY THOSE CASES OF DIRE HARDSHIP; IN ONE COURT, EXCUSES DROPPED TO ONLY 1.3 PERCENT. OTHER CHANGES UNDER THE NEW SYSTEM INCLUDED OBTAINING QUALIFYING INFORMATION THROUGH MAILED QUESTIONNAIRES RATHER THAN THROUGH INTERVIEWS, USING AN AUDIOVISUAL SLIDE PRESENTATION FOR JUROR PREPARATION IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO SERVICE, AND EXPLAINING ONLY THOSE STANDARDS OF PROOF, I.E., CIVIL OR CRIMINAL, REQUIRED FOR THE PARTICULAR CASE. JURORS REMAIN ATTENTIVE BECAUSE OF THE LIMITED SERVICE PERIOD AND OVERWHEMINGLY FAVOR THE SYSTEM. IN ADDITION, IT IS NO LONGER POSSIBLE FOR JURORS TO BECOME 'LEGAL EXPERTS' AFTER WEEKS OF SERVICE ON MANY TRIALS. A SKETCH AND PHOTOGRAPH ARE INCLUDED IN THE ARTICLE. (LWM)
Index Term(s): Juries; Juror utilization; Jury selection; Jury size changes; Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA); Michigan; Trials
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=62580

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