Friday, August 24, 2001
Burbank, Glendale Courthouses to Start ‘One Day, One Trial’ Jury System
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Two more courthouses will adopt the “one day, one trial” jury system Monday as the state-mandated reform continues on schedule, the Superior Court announced yesterday.
The Glendale and Burbank courthouses will begin dismissing prospective jurors Monday after one day of service if they are not selected for a trial.
Under the reform, citizens receiving jury summonses must call a 24-hour hotline for a period of up to five days to see if they must report to the courthouse.
If directed by the telephone system to report, prospective jurors will report to the Burbank courthouse and then be assigned to trial courts in either Burbank or Glendale.
If a juror is selected that day, he or she will be excused after serving on one trial. If not selected, the obligation is satisfied and the juror will not be recalled for jury service for at least one year.
About a quarter of those summoned are selected as trial jurors and serve an average of six days, the court said.
An attempt is being made by the court to reduce the number of trials at the Glendale courthouse in response to the parking and facilities problems it would face by being forced to accommodate such a high number of jurors.
Then-Gov. Pete Wilson signed a 1998 bill requiring all state trial courts adopt the new system, intended to make jury service less burdensome for citizens, by Jan. 1 2000.
After initially saying it could not comply, Los Angeles Superior Court began a “one day, one trial” pilot project in the Pasadena, Pomona, and Santa Anita courthouses in May 1999.
In September 1999, then-Presiding Judge Victor Chavez said the court was having problems implementing the system because it couldn’t come up with the approximately 7,000 jurors needed in the county each day, nearly triple the number required by the old system.
Court officials, however, unveiled their phase-in plan that November after reporting that more people had begun taking part in the system for the first time.
The new system is scheduled to be implemented completely throughout the county in March 2002, court spokesman Kyle Christopherson said.
By mid-November, the Santa Monica, Culver City, and West Los Angeles courthouses will adopt the system with the Airport and Malibu courthouses following suit by the end of the year.
By the end of March 2002, the rest of the Central District, including the Central Courthouse and the Metropolitan, Central Civil West, Hollywood, and the Criminal Courts courthouses will have converted to the “one trial” system.
Christopherson said there is a possibility that the first summonses for the Central Courthouse’s new system could be sent out in January.
“We’re just trying to get things done as soon as possible,” he said.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company