Juror appreciation program
September has been designated by the Wisconsin Court System as a time to recognize the importance of jurors to the American justice system. Co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Court System and the State Bar of Wisconsin, the judges, clerks and attorneys who work in the system year-round have created this opportunity to acknowledge the participation of the almost 200,000 individuals who are summoned to serve in Wisconsin each year - people who have set aside their work and personal lives to ensure that this cornerstone of American justice perseveres. Whether a juror serves in September, or on another date, this is the legal system's chance to call attention to the contribution of every prospective and sworn juror and to say "thank you."
Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson made recognition of jurors a priority in 2008, encouraging all courts to participate and expressing her thanks to jurors directly.This first statewide celebration will be become an annual event.
Others in state and county government shared their recognition of and appreciation for jurors. The Governor, Senate and Assembly all issued proclamations, as did 20 county boards of supervisors.
For further information about the Wisconsin Juror Appreciation Program call the Office of Court Operations at (608) 266-3121.
The efforts of many lawyers, judges and clerks across Wisconsin contribute to the success of Juror Appreciation programs. In 2008, over 40 courts held special ceremonies to thank jurors, inviting local dignitaries and former jurors to participate. Special snack treats were distributed. Radio and television interviews were conducted and news stories printed in every media market. Courts distributed commemorative items including magnets, bookmarks, water bottles and notepads illustrating local courthouses, the state juror appreciation logo and expressing thanks to jurors. Many judges and clerks wore pins for the month, saying 'We appreciate jurors'. Banners and posters were displayed and some counties found unique, creative ways to participate in the program. Forest County offered customized juror thank-you candies in Green Bay Packer colors. Milwaukee had drawings for passes to local sites such as the zoo and museums and placed scrolling videos announcing the program on public buses. The Waukesha County Bar Association presented the court with a framed photo of the county's first female jurors, from 1921.
Supreme Court Conversation on Jury Service: Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Anthony M. Kennedy discuss the importance of jury service with high school students. (Produced by The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.) (external link)
State and local court officials pose with a group of Milwaukee County jurors (holding certificates of appreciation), who gathered in the Milwaukee County Courthouse rotunda for a juror appreciation event on Sept. 4. Among officials making remarks at the ceremony: Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson; Chief Judge Kitty K. Brennan, Milwaukee County Circuit Court (now a Court of Appeals judge); Milwaukee County Clerk of Circuit Court John Barrett; and State Bar of Wisconsin President Diane Diel.
Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson speaks at the Dane County juror appreciation celebration, as Chief Judge C. William Foust looks on.
Forest County Clerk of Court Penny Carter included a Green Bay Packers helmet among decorations featured during a juror appreciation event at the Forest County Courthouse. Among the more elaborate of celebrations statewide, Carter provided jurors, past and present, with cake, candy, soda and coffee. Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson also visited with jurors during the event.