Orange County Superior Court has completed 100 jury trials since reopening in May and will hold a Juror Appreciation Week from Oct. 26-30.
"The fact that we held 100 jury trials since the partial reopening of the court in May is a testament to the commitment of our citizens to the Constitution and our shared values," said Presiding Judge Kirk H. Nakamura in a news release. "Jurors are an integral part of our justice system, they guarantee the right to a trial where all can be heard and judged by their peers."
The court usually holds Juror Appreciation Week in early May, under a resolution the Legislature passed in 1998. But this year the court was still closed, before what it dubbed a "soft reopening" of in-person jury trials during the last week of May. In July, the court announced it was still trying to address a backlog of more than 1,000 criminal cases.
The court has been a leader in its reopening efforts, restarting in-person deliberations weeks ahead of several other large courts. Tuesday's news release touted the court's Safe Access to Justice Initiative, led by Judge Thomas A. Delaney, who also began a yearlong term last month as president of the California Judges Association.
The court limits the number of jurors in the courthouse by revamping the online check-in process and controlling the number in a courtroom at one time.
Court Executive Officer and Jury Commissioner David Yamasaki said the court has been using technology to make the process more efficient and that the court would soon only need to call each citizen every other year. About 652,000 Orange County residents received jury summons in 2019.
-- Malcolm Maclachlan