A Juror’s Perspective
It’s a civic duty that it seems some Ohioans would like to avoid. But Buddy Newberry said being a juror on the Union County Common Pleas Court was a memorable and valuable experience.
“I’d often heard of jury duty from friends and relatives, and when I first got my summons I was excited to serve,” Newberry said. “I gained a lot of satisfaction out of it. Overall the whole process was rewarding.”
Newberry was part of a four-person panel that told a group of judges, jury coordinators, and other court personnel about their experiences as jurors at a jury management course on April 4, put on by the Ohio Jury Management Association in partnership with the Ohio Judicial College.
In Ohio, citizens are randomly selected for jury service from a list of registered voters or licensed drivers. The jurors on the panel told the court employees about the pros and cons of serving. The panelists said the courts they served on were well-run, but they said things like taking notes while hearing witness testimony or having a proctor available during deliberations would be beneficial.
Tiffin Municipal Court Judge Mark Repp said those types of requests differ from court to court because what’s allowed is at the judge’s discretion. For example, Judge Repp said he lets jurors take notes during trials in his courtroom.
“I allow that all the time, so it just kind of reaffirmed some of the things that you do,” Judge Repp said. “It’s always interesting to get feedback from jurors, and one of the things I routinely do is I sit down with them afterwards and talk with them.”
Judge Repp said he’s heard all types of excuses from those wanting to get out of jury duty.
“’I forgot. Oh, I’m going to lose money,’ and you want to reiterate … the United States is one of a few countries that puts enough trust in its populace to make these kinds of decisions,” Judge Repp said. “I try to appeal to their sense of patriotism that this is a big obligation.”
This is the second time jurors spoke at the conference about their firsthand experiences.
The daylong conference also featured discussions about jurors failing to show up to court, jury security, and social media and juries. While the program is centered on Ohio courts and jurors, the conference is open to all, and participants came from as far away as Puerto Rico.