Wisconsin jurors crucial to seeing that justice is served
Madison, Wisconsin - August 30, 2013
Leaders of Wisconsin’s three branches of government unanimously agree: jurors deserve thanks for their service to our justice system and to the people of our state.
“Jurors help ensure that all of our rights are protected, and that we are all held accountable under the law, said Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson. “Without jurors, our justice system would not function properly, and the rule of law could not be upheld,” she added.
Abrahamson is joined by Gov. Scott Walker, who issued a proclamation and Senate President Michael G. Ellis and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who issued a joint citation on behalf of the Legislature, in formally recognizing September as Juror Appreciation month in Wisconsin. The theme of statewide juror appreciation month, first celebrated in 2008, is Jurors Serve Justice; Justice Serves Us All.
Activities will be held during the month at courthouses throughout the state to mark the occasion and to celebrate the valuable work that jurors do each day. The court system appreciates jurors year-round, but without a formal time to recognize this, the work can be overlooked, Abrahamson said.
During 2012, 82,895 people appeared at a Wisconsin courthouse to report for jury duty; 21,080 served during a trial.
“Juries consist of our family members, friends, co-workers and relatives who give up a little bit of time to help ensure that the justice system functions properly for all of us. We also thank employers who may be inconvenienced at times when an employee is asked to serve on a jury. There are few jobs more important that a citizen can perform than serving on a jury,” said Abrahamson, who has twice served as a juror during her tenure on the Supreme Court.
“Serving on a jury is an opportunity to participate directly in our democracy, just like voting,” Abrahamson said. “We should all be proud of the work jurors do.”
Each county circuit court recognizes juror appreciation month in its own way. Contact the clerk of circuit court for more specific information about activities that may be planned in a particular county. A phone directory can be found at: www.wicourts.gov/contact/docs/clerks.pdf
Among activities planned, listed by Judicial Administrative District:
In Racine County, juror appreciation is recognized with banners hung in and around the courthouse. Several improvements have been made to the juror assembly area in recent years, thanks to recent donations from the Racine County Bar Association. Donations have helped buy tables, chairs and magazine subscriptions for the room. Judges also will bring treats such as kringle or cookies, said Clerk of Circuit Court Roseanne Lee.
In Washington County, the circuit court is hanging a banner and offering snacks to jurors during the month of September, said Clerk of Circuit Court Theresa M. Russell.
In Waukesha County, the circuit court will celebrate Juror Appreciation Month by hanging banners throughout the courthouse facility, serving warm cookies in the jury assembly room, and providing potential jurors with a token koozie or magnetic bag clip embossed with the statewide juror appreciation theme: “Jurors Serve Justice. Justice Serves us All.”
In Manitowoc County, the county executive and county board issued a proclamation recognizing September as Juror Appreciation Month. Clerk of Circuit Court Lynn Zigmunt recorded public service announcements and had them distributed to local radio stations. Zigumunt also sent a column of commentary to local newspapers, thanking jurors for their service. Court staff will display a large customized poster in the courthouse rotunda. Manitowoc County sends bookmarks year ‘round to thank jurors for their service, and during September, the county provides juror appreciation magnets to all jurors who serve, Zigmunt said.
In Dane County, Abrahamson and Court of Appeals’ judges Brian W. Blanchard and Joanne F. Kloppenburg will visit with Dane County jurors and thank them for their service. Dane County Clerk of Circuit Court Carlo Esqueda will distribute tote bags and a banner will be hung in the courthouse lobby.
In Rock County, the circuit court and county bar association will collaborate on a program welcoming jurors and explaining juror appreciation month. They’ll also hang a banner.
In Adams County, the circuit court will be posting “thank you” banners outside the Clerk of Court’s office and in the lobby of Courtroom A, as well as enclosing appreciation brochures with the mailing of the juror summons. Clerk of Circuit Court Kathleen Dye will distribute a press release and letter to the newspaper.
In Waushara County, the county board will pass a resolution proclaiming September Juror Appreciation Month. The proclamation also will be signed by Judge Guy D. Dutcher and Clerk of Circuit Court Melissa (Missy) M. Zamrow. Zamrow will also submit a newspaper article regarding jury service and jury appreciation.
In Richland County, Clerk of Circuit Court Stacy Kleist is writing a newspaper column in recognition of Juror Appreciation Month.
In Forest County, Clerk of Circuit Court Penny Carter, Judge Leon D. Stenz and District Attorney Charles Simono and other court staff will again participate in the annual “Brush Run Off Road Race” parade to help draw attention to the importance of jurors. The county also will post a large banner and distribute duffel bags, note pads and pens embossed with “Forest County Appreciates Their Jurors.”
In Lincoln County, a poster will be hung in the courthouse for the month and jurors may receive a bag with chip clip and post-it notes. A notice also will be put in the newspaper, said Clerk of Circuit Court Cindy Kimmons.
In Oneida County, Clerk of Circuit Court Brenda Behrle will send a press release or letter to the editor to local newspapers.
In Price County, Clerk of Circuit Court Chris Cress will be sending out juror appreciation letters and issuing a press release, highlighting the importance of jurors.
In Shawano County, about 375 potential jurors eligible for jury service during the fall are invited to attend a juror appreciation party, featuring snacks and refreshments. The event will be held after a juror orientation session at the courthouse.
In Barron County, a large banner that reads, “Barron County says Thank You Jurors” will be displayed. In addition, jurors will receive pens embossed with the scales of justice and “We appreciate Barron County jurors.” The items were purchased personally by the judges and Clerk of Circuit Court Sharon Millermon.
In Eau Claire County, the County Board approved a proclamation last declaring September as Juror Appreciation Month. Posters will be hung outside all the courtrooms and a message will be placed on the clerk of circuit court’s website and county Facebook page, said Clerk of Circuit Court Kristina L. Aschenbrenner.
In St. Croix County, the circuit court is hosting an open house for jurors on Sept. 17, featuring an informal presentation by Clerk of Circuit Court Lori Meyer, along with snacks and some tokens of appreciation, such as note pads and magnets.
Court Information Officer