Some of the unsung heroes of the local court system, the 100,000 or so Erie County residents 18 and older who annually are summoned for jury duty, will be thanked this week by court officials grateful for their sacrifices and eager to keep them as healthy as possible.
Beginning today, State Supreme Court Justice Sharon S. Townsend, administrative judge of the state's eight-county, Buffalo-based Eighth Judicial District, or Justice Donna M. Siwek, supervising judge for the district's civil courts, will greet incoming jurors at 25 Delaware Ave.
In addition, the court will offer various health tests and flu shots later in the week.
The flu shots will be administered Thursday and Friday in the ground-floor assembly room by representatives of the Visiting Nursing Association of Western New York, according to Mehrl F. King, Erie County's jury commissioner, and Paul G. Gaughan, deputy commissioner.
Court officials set aside this week as Juror Appreciation Week to thank jurors and "honor them for the great contribution they make serving on jury duty," Townsend said.
"Jury service is one of the most basic obligations of citizens provided for in our Constitution and is critical to our judicial system," she said.
"Juror Appreciation Week not only allows the legal community the opportunity to reiterate its commitment to jury reform, but also say thank you to the thousands of citizens who, without fanfare, serve as jurors every year in the courts of Erie County," she added.
King said representatives of his office go out to area schools, civic groups and various gatherings to explain the system of justice.
"Juror Appreciation Week provides us the opportunity to showcase our accomplishments, continue to educate citizens about jury service and its role in the administration of justice and encourage all New Yorkers to participate in this important civic duty," King added.
Each year, about 96,000 Erie County residents 18 and older are summoned for trial jury duty and another 4,000 or so for grand jury duty, King and Gaughan said.
They are randomly selected from lists of licensed drivers, taxpayers, registered voters, and public assistance and unemployment rolls. The jurors are summoned for service in the State Supreme, Erie County, city, town and village courts.
King said anyone seeking more information about jury service can contact his office at 845-2555 or go online to Web sites www.eriejury.com, www.wnyjury.com or www.nyjuror.gov.