Jurors exposed to horror in crime scene photos and testimony are often left traumatized, studies show. But for the first time in Michigan, beginning with a trial this week, there will be help for those who serve on tragic or violent trials, reports the Detroit Free Press. Oakland County’s Juror Debriefing Program, one of the few such programs in the nation, will send in trained counselors to help jurors deal with the sorrow, grief and anger such cases often evoke. “We now know that jurors are secondary victims in these kinds of crimes,” said Margo Eby, coordinator of the victim assistance program at Common Ground Sanctuary, which will run the juror program with three staff members and 15 volunteers.
Courts around the U.S. are addressing the problem. New York, Arizona, and Oregon provide jurors with access to counselors. The Texas Legislature is considering a law that will provide funding for 10 hours of psychological services to jurors in the aftermath of trials of violent crimes. The National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Va., which has been researching juror trauma, says about 70 percent of jurors report stress. Not surprisingly, the most stressful trials are those involving murder and the death of children.