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2009

September is Juror Appreciation Month in Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin - September 2, 2009

During September, circuit courts throughout Wisconsin will host a variety of activities to thank jurors for their service to democracy and the Wisconsin court system.

“Jurors play a critical role in protecting the constitutional rights of all the people of Wisconsin and in keeping our system of justice fair and impartial,” said Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson. “Jurors are a cornerstone of our democracy,” added Abrahamson, who has served twice on Dane County juries during her tenure on the Supreme Court.

The theme of statewide Juror Appreciation Month, which is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin court system and the State Bar of Wisconsin, is Jurors Serve Justice; Justice Serves Us All. The occasion also offers an opportunity to thank jurors’ families and employers, who may be inconvenienced by jury duty. During 2008, an estimated 44,394 people reported to a Wisconsin courthouse for jury duty, and more than 22,623 of them served as jurors in one of more than 2,401 trials.

September was designated statewide Juror Appreciation Month last year in a declaration signed by Abrahamson and in a proclamation signed by Gov. Jim Doyle. The state Senate and Assembly each approved citations, designating the occasion.

The juror appreciation program builds on the success of a Milwaukee County juror appreciation program established in 2007. Milwaukee County will kick off this year’s celebration with a press conference featuring court and local government officials at 12:15 p.m. on Sept. 2 in the courthouse rotunda.

Other counties have passed resolutions or planned juror appreciation activities, including: Dane, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Lincoln, Racine, Shawano, St. Croix, Waukesha and Winnebago, among others. In some counties, activities are as simple as offering jurors coffee and snacks or hanging posters in the courthouse. In some counties, plans are more elaborate. In Forest County, for example participants in the county’s teen court program, which includes students from three schools, will put on a mock trial, said Forest County Clerk of Court Penny Carter.

The statewide juror appreciation program was initiated by the Chief Judges Subcommittee on Juror Treatment and Selection. Last year, about a half dozen counties invited jurors to participate in special programs, and more than 40 counties marked the occasion in some fashion, ranging from thank you notes to hanging banners and posters in the courthouse.

Contact:
Tom Sheehan
Court Information Officer
(608) 261-6640

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