Jury Service Makes a Difference


Expanding the Jury Pool

In conjunction with Juror Appreciation Week in New York State, City Council President Lovely Warren, Supervising Judge Craig Doran of the 7th Judicial District, Supervising Judge Teresa Johnson of Rochester City Court, and Rochester City Court Judge Stephen Miller, are renewing efforts to increase the number of African Americans in Monroe County’s pool of potential jurors. The collaborative campaign, called “Jury Service Makes a Difference,” aims to ensure that residents are fulfilling their civic duty—and legal obligation—to participate in jury service.

“Often times we hear various reasons from our peers as to why they don’t take part in jury service. Excuses range from work commitments, lack of interest, or perceptions that the justice system is unjust,” says Council President Lovely Warren. “As residents and as elected officials in this community, it is our desire to have more of our peers participating as jurors and to ultimately dispel these viewpoints.”

“The City of Rochester is proud to be a part of this collaboration with the courts system of New York State,” said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “I applaud Council President Lovely Warren’s continued commitment, along with the efforts of our local judges, who are working to influence more African American residents to participate in jury service.”

About the Campaign

This outreach campaign consists of posters and fliers hung at various locations around Rochester -- including City Hall, libraries, recreation and community centers -- coupled with informational brochures and public service announcements (PSA). The material features twelve local African Americans who have served on a jury.

The volunteers featured in the poster and PSA hope that the message will resonate with the community. Churches, community organizations, and business owners are also being asked to consider hanging these posters and distributing juror volunteer qualification questionnaires at these locations as well. In addition, a Speaker’s Bureau has been formed to make presentations in schools, churches, and organizations throughout the community.

While outreach efforts have seen some successes in the Rochester area, a study, commissioned by Chief Judge of the State of New York Jonathan Lippman, has shown that African Americans are sometimes under-represented in the jury pool. "This unprecedented local effort shows that in Rochester, our leaders believe in the jury as an institution, genuinely care about the jury pool representing the community and back it up by serving as jurors themselves. I appreciate their support,” says Charles Perreaud, Monroe County Commissioner of Jurors. “Every juror who serves makes our system stronger."

For More Information

To request material, or to arrange for a presentation to be made at your church, business or organization, please call Jury Commissioner Charles Perreaud, at (585) 371-3834 or visit www.nyjuror.gov.