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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Juror Records

I'm not sure why, but the concept of jury duty keeps following me around, like a bad odor. I guess it all started earlier in the week when a co-worker announced that he had been called for jury duty and he wasn't sure how long the court would require him to be there.

I've never been a big fan of jury duty, but when I lived in California, there was a law which stated that you were told on the first day if you were to be on a jury. If not, you were dismissed and couldn't be called back for another year. People always came up with excuses and ploys to get out of jury duty, many of which are no longer accepted. Recently, in Colorado, so few people showed up for jury duty, that the court staff went out and subpoenaed people on the street for "emergency jury duty." Read the article here.

Laughs aside, I have found that many counties have jury duty-related records available. Many times they are listed as "jurors census" or "jurors lists." Of course, being in the 19th century, only men were allowed to serve as a jury of "peers" but these records also tend to list occupations. An example of such a list is a list of Grand Jurors, 1883, 1885 from the town of Herkimer in Herkimer County, New York.

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