Michigan county puts jurors on call
Macomb County, Mich.’s juror waiting room will be a lonely place now that the county has implemented a paging system that allows residents to go elsewhere downtown while awaiting the call for civic service. The project is the result of a year of planning by local businesses and the county government.
The county calls up more than 18,000 potential jurors each year. Most of the residents the county calls for service never sit on a jury. In 2008, only 1,703 of the 18,040 jurors called for duty actually served, and, for the others, sitting in a waiting room with no television was very frustrating, according to County Clerk/Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh.
Sabaugh proposed the pager system last year to make the process a little less trying. Area businessman Gabe Anton drummed up support for the program from the Mount Clemens, Mich., Downtown Development Authority (MCDDA), Community Central Bank and other area businesses. “This is a textbook example of business and government working together,” Sabaugh said in a statement.
The pagers allow the jurors to venture up to one mile from the courthouse, but they must return to the courthouse within 10 minutes after receiving a page or face penalties for failure to appear in court. The program also is intended to benefit Mount Clemens businesses. “Jurors will get to know our beautiful downtown, our shops and restaurants,” said MCDDA Director Arthur Mullen in a statement. “They’ll get the flavor of the city and be interested in coming back.”
More information on the program is available at http://www.macombcountymi.gov/clerksoffice/news/htm/2009-05-27-Juror_Pagers.htm.