Saturday, September 20, 2014
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A Jersey jury job for the jobless

New Jersey's top jury manager Michael Garrahan gets a lot of advice on how New Jersey should fill its juries. Use unemployed people, his advisers say. They have the time. Maybe the $5 a day they earn has some appeal.

A Jersey jury job for the jobless

An empty jury box. (AP file photo)
An empty jury box. (AP file photo)

New Jersey's statewide jury manager Michael Garrahan gets a lot of advice on how New Jersey should fill its juries. Use unemployed people, his advisers say. They have the time. Maybe the $5 a day they earn has some appeal.

I met Garrahan on Thursday at a "Law School for Journalists" workshop sponsored by the New Jersey Court system's department of public affairs. When it was my turn to ask a question, I wondered how the recession had affected jury selection. Was it easier to fill juries when there were so many people who were unemployed?

"It's a trade off," Garrahan answered. On the one hand, unemployed citizens are available, he said.

But, said Assignment Judge Georgia M. Curio from Cumberland County, "they get very anxious" because they worry about missing an interview.

Interestingly, Garrahan said, the recession made it harder to find employed people who were willing to serve. "Even if they were still employed, they were more worried about keeping their jobs," he said.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer