After just over a year of empty jury boxes and a quiet assembly room, jury trials have finally resumed. This is a big deal for justice in Pima County and for the victims who had to take the “we just don’t know yet” call every 30 days, for the people in custody, for the delay in resolution. The process of returning was arduous. The Court took the well-being of all parties, and especially the general public, so very seriously. Every possible health precaution and Covid guidance is in place. We have YOU in mind, our jurors and our grand jurors. For some 18 years now, I have always stopped anytime I see a juror in the hallway or elevator and said, “Thank you for your service,” because without the public, our system would fall. It is such a truly honorable thing to do, to put your whole life on hold and devote some days or a week or maybe more in helping the process unfold and in seeking justice for one of your fellow community members. Can you tell how much I love this system?
And there were some bumps along the way… I like how Mike O’Hearn, our courtroom technology guru and senior project coordinator, put it: The moratorium on jury trials was as if all “the batteries” of the system had run down and needed to be recharged. Onward and upward.
In other news:
- National Law Day was also celebrated this week, and the theme for 2021 was Advancing the Rule of Law, NOW! The American Bar Association and Krisanne LoGalbo, the public information officer at Superior Court, created a space where high school students across the County could ask their questions about the justice system directly to the Chief Presiding Judge, Court Administrator, Jury Commissioner, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, their top prosecutor and defender. This is what accessibility looks like!
- This week, some of our most experienced Prosecutors met with ASU data analysts to explain our intake process and walk them through the charging of a case. This important meeting provided a “day in the life” of an issuing attorney. This context will help them better understand the data they are reviewing, pinpointing exactly how we can adjust our policies to make them outcome-driven and address racial, ethnic & socioeconomic disparities that persist.
To be continued,