Tuesday, June 11, 2002
One-Day, One-Trial Jury System Now Implemented Countywide
From Staff and Wire Service reports
The Los Angeles Superior Court completed its long transition to the one-day or or-trial jury system yesterday with full implementation of the program at its two largest courthouses—the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.
The system replaces one in which prospective jurors had to report every day for two weeks until they were selected for a jury. Under the new system, anyone not empaneled on the first day is released from service for at least a year.
The Foltz courthouse, formerly known as the Criminal Courts Building, and the Mosk courthouse, formerly known as the Central Courthouse, together account for one-third of all jurors in the county, court officials said.
The one-trial system already has been incorporated at courts around the state under a 2000 deadline set by the state Judicial Council. But the Los Angeles Superior Court, because of its size, was granted an extension.
The system was put in place at each courthouse in Los Angeles over the last two years, with the exception of the largest two. Even at the Foltz and Mosk courthouses, only juror notices under the one-trial system have been sent out over the last several weeks. But as of yesterday, most jurors reporting for duty were reporting under that system.
There may still be jurors reporting under the old system, if they were originally called for an earlier date but they obtained extensions.
The one-trial jury system is widely praised by jurors, but it has worsened the county’s chronic juror shortage, court officials said.
“It’s crucial for all eligible citizens to perform jury duty, regardless of their professional and personal obligations, and those who ignore their responsibility will face consequences,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge James A. Bascue.
Court officials warned last month that citizens who ignore their jury summons may face a judge and a $1,500 fine and then serve on a jury anyway.
Citizens who do not respond to their first jury summons may be mailed three more requests over a 31/2-month period, and then ordered to appear in court if those notices are ignored. Failing to appear may result in a fine, according to court officials.
Los Angeles Superior Court is the largest trial court system in the world, requiring 10,000 prospective jurors each day to serve on some 6,000 jury trials a year, officials said.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company