SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) kicked off Juror Appreciation Week (JAW) today with a plea to Californians to serve on a jury when called. For more than a decade, CALA has observed JAW as a way to educate the public on the importance of jury service as both a right and a responsibility.
JAW, observed annually during the second full week of May, was established by an Assembly resolution in 1998 to show gratitude to those who participate in jury service, something that should not be overlooked when discussing the state’s pressing needs.
“Jury service is one of our highest civic duties,” said CALA spokesperson Lorie Zapf. “It is also the best weapon Californians have in the fight against the lawsuit abuse. Abusive lawsuits force our businesses to close, threaten our economy, jeopardize our access to health care, and raise our cost of living.”
In California, jury duty is even easier than in many other parts of the country. The state has a
one-day or one-trial system, whereby prospective jurors need appear for only one day unless they are selected for a trial. In many instances, those summoned may only need to make a call visit a Web site to determine if they must appear at court. If they are not assigned to a jury on their first day of service, the obligation is satisfied for a year. If selected for a jury, service in that trial satisfies the juror’s obligation for at least one year.
“The one-day or one-trial system really makes fulfilling your civic duty much more convenient,” said Zapf. “For most of us that means just taking one day out of our busy lives to ensure that our justice system functions as it was intended.”
CALA also encourages employers to make a dedicated effort to support their employees’ service when called. Many potential jurors cite job conflicts as the reason they’re unable to report.
“Jury service is one of the cornerstones of democracy, and it is so easy to serve,” said Zapf. “When people choose to make excuses instead of serve, they’re surrendering the legal system to those who abuse it, contributing to the very problems that consistently land California at the bottom when ranking state’s litigation climates.”