Marana court requires prospective jurors to be available for a month

2013-12-12T00:00:00Z Marana court requires prospective jurors to be available for a monthBy Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

There are hung juries, then there are jury summons that leave you hanging.

The summons system for Marana Municipal Court is an example of the latter. Those summoned for jury duty are expected to be available anytime within a three-month period.

Summoned jurors return a contact form and learn the Monday before a trial whether their presence will be required.

The three-month waiting period is in stark contrast to other local court systems. Arizona Superior Court in Pima County — as well as Tucson City Court, which uses subsets of the same pools of jurors — and federal court both require jurors to set aside at least one day for service, with jurors expected to clear their schedules until 5 p.m. the day they are summoned.

Oro Valley Municipal Court also summons jurors for one day, and those who are dismissed from one jury pool are not required to stay the rest of the day.

Marana spokesman Rodney Campbell said the juror pool trial period has been the way it is for at least 18 years. He said the town’s slate of jury trials is so light that three-month stretches pass without a single trial.

“It just makes sense to keep that pool intact for a longer period of time,” he said.

Marana jurors who serve on a jury are released from the three-month commitment.

The Marana court handles trials involving driving under the influence, theft, reckless driving and resisting arrest. Campbell said reckless driving and resisting arrest cases are extremely rare in Marana.

If a juror fails to show up when summoned, a judge can issue an order to make the potential juror show cause.

Campbell said the town receives few complaints about the system, and there are no changes currently being considered. He added that Marana’s rules make sense because the town draws on a relatively slim pool of potential jurors.

“There are enough (jurors), but we are much more limited than Pima County and the city of Tucson, places like that,” Campbell said. “That’s one of the main reasons we do a jury pool rather than the way a lot of other entities do.”

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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