A shout-out to jurors for their service: My Word
By Frederick J. Lauten
In recognition of the invaluable role jurors play in the law, I proclaimed this past week as Juror Appreciation Week. The Orange and Osceola county commissions joined in. The judges of the Ninth Judicial Circuit and I extend our deepest thanks to all those who have reported for jury duty. We cannot dispense justice in our courthouse without their participation.
We know that responding to a jury summons and serving on a jury are often inconvenient because jury service takes us away from our important daily responsibilities. We know we are asking citizens to sacrifice by serving as jurors, but we also believe it is one of the highest duties we as citizens of a democratic nation can perform. Our brave men and women in the military have fought and died to protect our freedoms to ensure that we can directly participate in our system of justice.
It is vitally important that we have a diverse, representative, engaged group of citizens deciding disputed issues of fact and rendering verdicts in both criminal and civil trials. Jury service is one of the most direct forms of democracy because it is we the people and not someone we elect deciding the fate of a case.
Along with voting and serving in the military, jury duty is an essential responsibility of American citizenship. Whenever I speak to employers in our circuit, I urge them to pay their employees while they serve as jurors to underscore how important jury service is to our community. It is an example of civic commitment and corporate responsibility to help ensure a free and fair judicial system.
Permit me to extend my deepest appreciation to all the jurors throughout the years who have faithfully reported for jury service. And to those who will be summonsed in the future, I ask that they respond to their summons and participate in jury service. Our system of justice is only as strong and as involved as our citizens choose to be.
We live in a wonderful nation. Citizens make our nation even stronger by performing this important civic responsibility, and the judges of the Ninth Judicial Circuit are grateful for their service.