Former jurors, who have recently served in the Nevada federal or state court, are sought for a panel on Sept. 5, from noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse, Jury Assembly Room, to give input on how to improve the jury system. The participants will be provided lunch compliments of the New York University’s Civil Jury Project and the Clark County Bar Association.
Legal experts note there is a historic decline in the number of civil jury trials, both at the state and federal level. The luncheon is a forum to learn from the former jurors how jury duty can be improved based upon their first hand observations. The former jurors, along with judges, will have the opportunity to share experiences and insight gained, and to provide input on proposals to make jury trials more efficient. Steve Susman the Executive Director of the Civil Jury Project at NYU School of Law will present information on national trends uncovered by The Civil Jury Project. Attorneys are invited to observe the session for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit through the Clark County Bar Association.
The Civil Jury Project is the only academic center in the country dedicated exclusively to studying civil jury trials. Their goal is to find out why jury trials are vanishing, whether this is a bad thing, and, if so, what can be done to avoid their extinction. The juror luncheon is part of the national study that includes more than 260 state and federal judges from around the country, legal professionals and academics.
Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Timothy Williams, who has been involved in The Civil Jury Project, called juries “the great regulator.” “Juries are important for one basic reason, under our United States Constitution there are guarantees of jury trials in both civil and criminal matters. As a result, the process cannot function unless our citizens are willing to participate,” said Judge Williams. “There is a two-prong reason for them to participate: number one, it’s a duty to do so as citizens of this country; and, it’s a great service provided to the community.”
Judge Williams has been instrumental in conducting this jury input project and said, “Participation of jurors that have served is vital. I’m hoping they can share their stories and experiences and give the courts, lawyers and justice system insight on how we can improve their service and their experience when they serve on a jury.” He acknowledged that when citizens receive a summons they generally don’t want to serve; but, once they serve, they realize that their vote and their service to the community really matter.
Last year, former Eighth Judicial District Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez appointed a Jury Services Committee chaired by Judge Williams and Judge Valerie Adair, and comprised of members of the bar, legislators, the community and the jury commissioner. The committee has made progress in their examination of the jury process from summons through discharge and in their exploration of the viability of further operational and technological improvements that could enhance jury service processes.
Former jurors who have recently served in the Nevada federal or state court and would like to participate in the panel can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 729-2016 to attend. Lunch will be provided. Transportation and parking expenses will be reimbursed.