The Jury Wheel Database Reloaded
by: Ed Mayberry, March 28, 2011 11:03:00 pm
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Harris County has reloaded its jury wheel — the database used to summon potential jurors. Ed Mayberry reports the wheel contains 2.4 million names drawn from licensed drivers, Texas ID card holders and registered voters.
After months of reconciling the previous 2007 list, Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel clicked on the button that reconsitutes the list of potential jurors that will be used for the next three years or so.
"If you all are ready, we're going to reconsitute the wheel, okay?"
Left to right: Sheriff Adrian Garcia, District Clerk Chris Daniel, Judge Al Bennett and Judge Mark Ellis. The monitor is the screen shot of the database after he clicks the mouse to update the rolls.
And with the click of a mouse...
"There you have it — 2.4 million people!" (applause)
The last jury wheel contained a database of 2.7 million names, but eliminating duplicates has streamlined the new database.
"We have taken the voter rolls and the drivers license rolls of those who are eligible to vote and put it into a pot, stirred it up and made sure that when in the time is right and these judges need somebody to fullfill their Seventh Amendment duties, that we can pull out those names — purely at random — and make sure that justice is fair and even across the boards."
61st District Court Judge Al Bennett stresses the importance of responding when summoned for jury duty.
"I tell my juries all the time that I believe this is the second most important thing that you do as a citizen. Other than stepping into a voting booth and casting your ballot, we need you here in the third branch of government, to participate in our democracy."
The first citizens summoned from the new wheel will be scheduled to report for jury service on May 14th.