Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Macomb proposal would let jurors check in for duty from area businesses
By Serena Maria Daniels / The Detroit News
Mount Clemens— The days of mind-numbing boredom inside a stuffy jury room may come to an end if the Macomb County Clerk can roll out a new program that allows jurors to check in from area businesses.
Currently, prospective jurors wait in line to enter the Macomb County Circuit Court building, only to file into crowded elevators to wait again to be assigned a court case.
Instead, those summoned could order breakfast from inside one of the participating eateries downtown and check into court using a tablet device for the 30-minute orientation.
After that, jurors would be able to shop at one of the nearby retailers, maybe read a book at the Cherry Street Mall or take a stroll along the Clinton riverside. Jurors also would have the option of receiving their $25 stipend on the same day they serve, with the use of an online payment site such as PayPal or Google Checkout.
"Not only are people able to take care of their civic duty, they get to really see Mount Clemens," said County Clerk/Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh.
This idea was read and filed Tuesday during a meeting of the Board of Commissioners' Justice and Public Safety Committee.
The program, which would be paid for by the participating merchants, would not result in higher costs to the county, officials say.
"I think it gives jurors the flexibility to carry on with their lives without being tied down in court," said Commissioner Roland Fraschetti, R-St. Clair Shores, who sits on the committee.
The board's Finance Committee is expected to hear the proposal Aug. 15.
This proposal is the latest effort to make jury service more convenient for the 19,000 people who serve in court each year.
In 2004, officials enabled jurors to have wireless Internet access. The following year, jurors were allowed to check out library books and have them sent to the courthouse on their service day.
And about four years ago, jurors were given the opportunity to leave the building with restaurant-style pagers. If they were needed, the pager would summon them back to the courthouse.