State high court video highlights importance of jury service

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In recognition of Juror Appreciation Month, the Michigan Supreme Court has released a video featuring Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Victoria Valentine and seven jurors who served together on a civil trial in her courtroom earlier this year. In the video, the jurors share their own experiences and feelings about serving.

“In the United States, a jury trial is one of the most important things we can offer our citizens,” Judge Valentine said. “It’s something we need to do as citizens, as peers, and as part of the community—to give our time, even if it’s an inconvenience. I promise you will find it worthwhile.”

 “It didn’t feel like a sacrifice so much as a service,” said jury foreperson Adam Stonehouse in the video. “What a great experience! I was so happy to do this and learn about the court system and the role of the jury in a trial.”

The Michigan Supreme Court officially designated July as Juror Appreciation Month with a resolution signed by all seven justices. The resolution acknowledges and pays tribute to the many Michigan citizens who have graciously served as jurors, and to encourage everyone to answer the summons to jury service.

“As citizens of the United States, we have a constitutional obligation to fulfill jury duty when called upon,” said Chief Justice Stephen J. Markman. “By ensuring everyone’s right to a fair trial by their peers, jurors play a fundamental role in maintaining a healthy system of self-government grounded upon the equal rule of law.”

July was first declared Juror Appreciation Month in 2005 “to underscore the importance of jury service in our constitutional republic.”

The Supreme Court has identified jury management as one of its court performance measures with the goal of improving service to the public. This measure requires all trial courts to collect and report specific data to encourage them to focus on making their jury management system more efficient. A more efficient system means less of an imposition on citizens, less cost for tax payers, and less administrative burden on court staff so they can better serve the public.

For more information about jury service, visit www.courts.mi.gov/jury.

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