The American Bar Association soon will consider recommending changes in jury procedures that were pioneered in Arizona, the Arizona Republic reports. That includes allowing jurors to question witnesses, permitting them to take notes during a trial,and requiring judges to educate jurors on the specifics of the law at the beginning of the trial instead of the end. Phoenix lawyer Patricia Refo heads an ABA committee called the American Jury Project, which studied jury management around the country and created a list of “best practices.”
Next week at its annual convention, the ABA will discuss a list of recommendations. President Robert Grey said an ABA poll indicated that most Americans believe in the jury system and would rather be tried in front of a jury than in front of a judge alone. A focus of the ABA effort is to jury service more convenient. Even if most people recognize the importance of juries, they don’t necessarily want to have to serve on one themselves. “The things that jurors complain about most are pay and delay, the money and the time,” Grey said.