Superior Court Celebrates Jury Appreciation Week
by Vincent Funari
PHOENIX (May 2, 2023) – Residents of Maricopa County reporting for jury service during the first week of May will be rewarded with more than an interesting trial and the satisfaction they fulfilled their civic duty.
They will be part of a week-long, nationwide celebration know as Juror Appreciation Week. Each year, Jury Appreciation week, spearheaded by the American Bar Association, starts immediately following Law Day on May 1.
“We are grateful to the many citizens of Maricopa County who answer the call to jury service,” said Raymond L. Billotte, Judicial Branch Administrator and Jury Commissioner. “We understand the personal sacrifices and inconveniences jurors must endure when summonsed and are working diligently to minimize the impact jury duty has on every person. We also know our local justice system is only improved when members of our community take an active role to ensure the services we provide are fair, impartial and equally available to all persons. Our democracy relies on the participation of the people, and jury service is vital to the continued success of this great Nation.”
To honor jurors, the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County will be buying lunches for three seated jury panels and handing out assorted gift baskets for other seated panels throughout the week. Also, summoned jurors who report to the Juror Assembly Room during the week will be offered pastries, snacks, coffee, water and soda and greeted with welcome speeches by Presiding Judge Joseph Welty and judicial leadership.
Jury Appreciation Week is just one of the ways the Court is looking to enhance the juror experience.
“The Court is continually looking for ways to make the jury selection process more efficient. Jurors are often asked to travel far distances to their assigned courthouse, sit among strangers and divulge some personal information about themselves. To alleviate some of the stress involved, the Court recently implemented Case-Specific Questionnaires as an initial part of jury selection,” Jury Administrator Matthew Martin said. “This process allows jurors to privately respond either on their phone or a tablet we provide. Their responses are reviewed by the judge and lawyers away from the group, and large numbers are excused without having to experience in-person questioning. This allows people to be franker and more honest in their responses that they may have held back in a public forum.”
In Fiscal Year 2022, Superior Court summoned more than 330,000 jurors and paid out almost $1.3 million in juror pay and mileage reimbursement.
Jurors are a vital part of American democracy, and all citizens must fulfill their duty and respond to their summons. If a person receives a summons in the mail, they must fill out the juror questionnaire at https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/jury prior to their arrival. Also, jurors must call after the 5 p.m. the night before they are expected to report to verify if they are needed.
The United States Constitution and the Arizona State Constitution guarantee the right to trial by jury. All Maricopa County residents are obligated by state law to serve as a juror unless they are under the age of 18, not a citizen, do not possess sufficient knowledge of the English language, and/or have been convicted of a felony and their civil rights have not been restored.
# # #
The Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County is comprised of Superior Court, Adult Probation and Juvenile Probation, which includes juvenile detention. The Judicial Branch in Maricopa County is the fourth largest trial court system in the nation and, along with its 3,000 employees, is dedicated to providing a safe, fair and impartial forum for resolving disputes, enhancing access to services, and providing innovative, evidence-based practices that improve the safety of the community and ensure the public’s trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch. For more information, visit www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov.
Vincent Funari, Public Information Officer