Cambria County President Judge Timothy Creany is implementing a plan to create a more diverse pool of potential jurors. The new system will also ease administrative processes when potential jurors report for duty.
Traditionally, Cambria County has used voter registration rolls when selecting names for jury duty. This procedure has resulted in woeful lack of diversity on county juries. To address this problem, Cambria is changing to a system that, in addition to tapping voter registration records, draws from state licensed driver lists, lists of people receiving welfare benefits, and state income tax returns. President Judge Creany stated, “The most important thing is to be tried by a jury of peers. We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to do that and make sure all are included – old and young, a racial mix and (those from varied) employment across the board.”
The expanded jury pool is a welcome change. Veteran Cambria County Assistant Public Defender, Patricia Moore, said, “It will give us a broader cross section of people to choose from and be more representative of a variety of people. We will be able to really select a true jury of our peers for our clients, particularly for our minority clients.”
Additionally, Cambria is looking to ease the administrative burden of jury duty by printing bar codes on the juror summons that can be scanned upon arrival. This should cut down on long lines as jurors wait to be checked in and make it easier for court workers to assemble jury panels.
More information about the Jury System in Pennsylvania is available at The Jury System. For more information about the role of diversity in jury selection, see the Jury Service Committee of The Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness.