The new system has potential jurors calling in for five days to see if
their numeric group has been selected to come in the following day. If
the potential jurors are not picked for a jury on the day they appear,
their service is completed for one year. If they are selected for a jury,
most cases last between five and six days, said Judge Carl West. West is
the presiding judge of the North Central District, which is made up of
the courthouses in Burbank and Glendale.
"In the old system, they had to show up for 10 days and could be
picked on any or all of those 10 days. If they were picked on the last
day, they had to stay over on a jury," West said.
The new system offers more certainty in terms of how long jurors will
be away from work and will cut down on the number of employees out on
jury duty, West said.
"Fewer than 20% actually wind up on juries. That means 80% will serve
their one day and be gone," West said.
Heine has served on juries before and welcomed the new system.
"I think I'm going to like it a lot better," she said. "It'll keep
jurors fresher and more in tune with the case."
For the workers in Burbank who process the potential jurors and send
them out to the district's various courtrooms, the system means less
paperwork and fewer people.
"There aren't so many of them here waiting. I can see us becoming more
productive," said Michael Blanco, who has worked in the district's court
system for six months.
But court workers -- from judges to clerks, as well as attorneys --
will have to focus on finding ways to make the most of the time that they
have the potential jurors. Juror orientation time will be cut and those
not selected in the morning will be reviewed for other cases in the
afternoon, West said.
"We want to fully utilize your services," West told the residents in
the jury room Monday morning.