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Jury Service Reform Law

October 11, 1998

* Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti and the Los Angeles Superior Court are not all that far apart regarding one-day, one-trial, despite the tenor of "Garcetti Backs Jury Service Reform Law" (Oct. 1). We would like to have a one-day, one-trial system and are, in fact, implementing a pilot project to determine the magnitude of the problems and possible resolutions. The most critical question is, can we afford it? It obviously will take significantly more resources to issue the larger number of summonses and to process the two to three times as many jurors that would be needed to fill the county's jury needs.

A second factor is, is it possible to summon enough jurors without having to call people to serve two or even three times a year? Just as Garcetti has suggested, we have indeed gotten tougher on enforcing jury summonses. We also are working with Chamber of Commerce officials to explore options that would ease the burden of jury service on employers as well as jurors, so the vast number of otherwise eligible jurors who are currently excused for hardship will be able to serve.

The framers of the law, by including an exemption provision, recognize that some court jurisdictions might have unique circumstances. That provision enables the courts to proceed responsibly and operate from a position of knowledge, rather than leap blindly into untested waters. The trial courts in Los Angeles County are committed to an efficient and effective jury system and will take the necessary steps to achieve it.

ROBERT W. PARKIN

Presiding Judge

Los Angeles Superior Court

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