This week the Alameda County Superior Court (Court) celebrates Juror Appreciation Week to recognize the service and participation of jurors from our community. Recognition for jurors during the second week in May was established in 1998 by the California Legislature to honor the important contributions of citizens who devote their time and effort in “making the cherished right of trial by jury a reality” and to raise awareness of this significant contribution to our courts.
Each year, this Court and the Judicial Council of California team up to recognize the millions of Californians who answer the call to serve their communities and put into practice the fundamental American ideal of trial by jury. Our judicial system works because of the willingness of our community members to serve on juries.
However, over the past year the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in radical changes to our way of life. It has affected our families and communities in profound ways that we are still reckoning with, from classrooms to courthouses. For the judicial branch and Alameda County Superior Court, in particular, that has meant leveraging technology to provide more services remotely and virtually, as well as implementing numerous procedures to protect public health and safety while maintaining access to justice.
During this unique time, jury service may look very different from how you imagined. For example, prospective jurors have the opportunity to complete and submit juror questionnaires electronically in advance of their summons date. And jurors selected to sit in civil jury trials will likely participate remotely, as detailed in the Civil section of the Court’s dedicated COVID-19 page.
While it may appear strange to celebrate jurors when relatively few trials are occurring, we think there is no better time to recognize the invaluable service our jurors provide. There is simply no replacement for their role in our legal system. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, there will always be a need for jurors and, through their service, to be able to resolve our disputes in a court of law.
“It has been truly gratifying to see such a tremendous response to jury summons by Alameda County residents even throughout the more difficult weeks and months of the pandemic,” said the Court’s Jury Committee Chair Judge Andrew Steckler. “Our citizens’ willingness to serve has provided the linchpin of our ability to continue to provide justice. For this, as a Court we are, and continue to be, most thankful.”
View the full notice here.
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