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Far Too Little Value Put on the Jury System

June 04, 2003

I read with profound dismay the May 31 letters to the editor concerning how the jury system works. The right to a jury trial is one of the most fundamental constitutional rights, and one for which brave men and women died with their faces in the mud. Yet there are people who complain bitterly about the "inconvenience" of serving on a jury and feel that "jury service is something to be avoided."

Part of being a citizen in a democracy is being "inconvenienced" to serve as a juror. The jury system ensures that everyone is given a fair trial by his or her peers. Otherwise, our nation would spiral downward and lose any semblance of democracy. Perhaps those who complain so vehemently about the inconvenience of serving on a jury should consult with citizens of dictatorships and ask them if a right to a jury trial is an important right.

Jeffrey A. Lowe

Los Angeles

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One letter writer opines that lawyers ought to be required to pay fees for juries. In point of fact, all civil suits require that a jury fee be posted to have a trial by jury.

The party seeking the jury posts $150 initially and then must pay the jury fee on a daily basis to keep the jurors on the case. People who cannot afford juries (a relative rarity) can seek a waiver of the fees on a case-by-case basis.

In the last civil jury trial I handled, the jury fees, which my client posted, amounted to about $300 for a relatively short trial. My client prevailed in the case and the court then ordered the opposing party to reimburse my client for the fees. It would appear that the system is not particularly broken and need not be fixed.

Steven T. Flowers

Beverly Hills

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