During June 14 to June 21, Rockdale County will celebrate a little-recognized but crucial component of the judicial system and of democracy — the people that serve on juries.
"We want to make the jurors that serve during that period feel special and appreciated," said Rockdale County Court Clerk Ruth Wilson.
During the week, the first time the county has held such appreciation events, special refreshments will be served, items donated from the business community will be raffled, and discounts on meals will be offered.
"The whole point is to let everyone know how important jurors are to our democracy," said Wilson, pointing out that the threat of losing the right to a trial by jury was one of the things that sparked the American Revolution.
"It’s both a right and a privilege. It’s an obligation of citizenship. But it’s also a privilege to be able to participate," said Wilson. "The decisions a jury makes have a direct impact on the life of the community. It’s also an opportunity for the individual citizens to uphold a key cornerstone of our democracy."
She said after people serve on juries, they frequently comment on how much they learned from the experience.
The Rockdale County courts will typically call 150 to 200 jurors twice a month. To serve on a jury, one must be an American citizen and have no felonies. The process of selecting a jury is carefully defined by law, said Wilson, and people cannot be excused from jury duty simply by personal influence.
Businesses interested in donating items or participating in Juror Appreciation Week can call the juror appreciation coordinator at (770) 278-7901.