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Chief Justice Proclaims Juror Appreciation Week May 2-6

Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea has proclaimed May 2-6 Juror Appreciation Week.  The Judicial Branch will use this occasion to express appreciation for those Minnesotans who have answered the call to jury service.

The right to a trial by jury is one of the core protections of individual freedom in American society.  The Constitutions of the United States and the State of Minnesota guarantee defendants in criminal cases and litigants in civil cases the right to a trial by jury.  As a prospective juror, participants have an opportunity to participate directly in a critical component of our democracy.

“Jurors are the beating heart of our justice system, the place where citizens participate in court decisions that shape lives, families, and business relationships,” said Chief Justice Gildea, noting that Minnesotans respond to jury summons at a consistently high rate.  “It is important for the judiciary to acknowledge the dedication of citizens who report for jury service and to recognize employers who support employee leave for jury service.”

During the week, various activities will be going on in the district courts to recognize prospective jurors: 

  • First Judicial District staff will hand out American flags and thank you notes. 
  • Second Judicial District staff will read the Chief Justice’s Proclamation.
  • Fourth Judicial District Administrator Mark Thompson will thank jurors for their service.  Games, such as word finds, are also planned.
  • The Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth judicial districts will post the Proclamation in the courthouses.
  • The Tenth Judicial District will post the Proclamation and read it to prospective jurors.

Each year, the Minnesota Judicial Branch obtains names from driver’s license, state ID card, and voter registration lists and compiles that information into a composite source list.  From that list, individuals are randomly selected by computer and mailed a summons to appear for jury duty.

A prospective juror must be a United States citizen, a resident of the county in which they are summoned, at least 18 years old, able to communicate in English, physically and mentally capable of serving, a person who has had their civil rights restored if they have been convicted of a felony, and a person who has not served as a state or federal juror in the past four years.

Since 2010, persons summoned for jury duty have been able to complete the required qualification questionnaire through the Judicial Branch Website (www.mncourts.gov). 

More details about jury service, including frequently asked questions and an orientation video, “All Rise: Jury Service in Minnesota,” can be found at http://www.mncourts.gov/jury.