Who Is Responsible For Summoning Jurors?
The Assignment Judge of the vicinage is responsible for summoning jurors.
What is a vicinage?
The territory where a Superior Court exercises authority is a vicinage. Consequently, eleven New Jersey vicinages share their boundary with their county. For example, Vicinage 4 and Camden County share the same borders. Additionally, four vicinages comprise more than one county. For example, Vicinage 15 includes the Counties of Gloucester, Cumberland, and Salem.
What is an Assignment Judge?
Each vicinage has only one Assignment Judge (“A.J.”). The A.J.’s authority extends throughout the vicinage. But outside the vicinage, the A.J. has no authority. In addition to other duties, the A.J. administers the summoning of jurors.
How Does An Assignment Judge Decide Who To Summon For Jury Duty?
The A.J. administers a public and random process. This involves drawing names from the juror source list before each Superior Court session. Thus, names drawn from the juror source list are for grand jury or petit jury service.
Therefore, the A.J. must specify:
- the number of panels of grand and petit jurors to draw,
- how many names to draw for each panel, and
- how to prepare the lists of names.
Occasionally circumstances require additional grand or petit jury panels. Therefore, the A.J. must provide the additional panels from the juror source list. Drawing names and assigning individuals to panels must be public and random.
What Information About Citizens Is Collected?
The A.J. gathers information about each juror’s identity. The list consists of each person’s:
- address, and
- occupation, if available.
Are Tax Dollars Spent On An Efficient Summoning Process?
New Jersey courts embrace modern technology, contributing to the efficient administration of randomly selecting and assigning jurors to panels. Nevertheless, the A.J. must also maintain the integrity of the courts.
To maintain the integrity of the judiciary the A.J. must:
- specify with particularity the method of random selection in his instructions, and
- make available upon request for public inspection the specification of the method and any programs and procedures used to implement the method, including any computer programs.
New Jersey Trial Attorney, Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Based on trial experience, which includes selecting juries, Mr. Smolensky would like to help you.
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