CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE GROUPS TOUT JURY SERVICE AS GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT DECLARES FIRST WEEK OF MAY “JURY SERVICE APPRECIATION” WEEK
Leading legal watchdog groups say Texans must “walk the walk” and answer the call when summoned to serve
AUSTIN, TEXAS— Noting that the right to trial by a jury of peers is a critical part of the nation’s justice system, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared the week May 2 to May 6 as “Jury Service Appreciation Week” in Texas.
“The obligation and privilege to serve as a juror are as fundamental to our democracy as the right to vote,” proclaimed Gov. Abbott. “Courts depend upon citizens to serve as jurors and all citizens should be encouraged to respond when summoned for jury service. I commend all Texans who give their time and talents to serve on juries across the Lone Star State.”
Leaders with the state’s Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse groups said Abbott’s action reinforces for Texans the importance of answering the call when summoned to serve on a jury.
“Every citizen can do his or her part to bring fairness and balance to the civil justice system by serving on a jury when called,” said Jennifer Harris, spokesperson for Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas. “A robust jury system is essential to protect our rights as Americans and ensure all defendants are treated fairly in the courtroom.”
Previous research from Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) has shown that while many Texans – 90 percent, in fact – say it’s important to serve on a jury, many still don’t show up with summoned.
According to TALA, in some counties as many as 80 percent of those summoned simply don’t show up at the courthouse. Counties are doing their part to make this system as painless as possible, taking many aspects like scheduling online to remove barriers to service and to save both jurors and courts time and money.
“We know service is important,” said D’Anne Buquet, executive director of Bay Area Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse in Corpus Christi. “But we can’t just talk the talk, we have to walk the walk. A lack of jurors can delay cases and, overall, undermine justice in our legal system.”
Sergio Contreras, president of Rio Grande Valley Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, said, “Jurors decide guilt or innocence. In lawsuits, jurors determine who is right and who pays damages. When you are selected to serve on a jury, you become an active participant in the administration of justice. If jurors avoid jury service, the justice we receive, as plaintiffs or defendants in a lawsuit, will be diminished. In short, fair and impartial juries are what make our justice system tick.”
Added Harris: “We appreciate Governor Abbott’s commitment to this important issue and encourage all Texans to answer the call when summoned to serve.”
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