October 17, 2007 Edition

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County to begin pulling driver's
license holders for jury service

Gretchen Hunt

In September, Judge Phillip Smith, administrative judge of the Third Judicial District, issued an order for Lawrence County Circuit Clerk, Michelle Evans, to begin using the "enhanced jury list" for pulling potential jurors.

Evans said the potential jurors for the circuit court session that begins Nov. 5 was pulled from the enhanced jury list. Summonses have already been sent to those who have been selected.

She also said the summons will be individuals' only notification as a new state law forbids the publishing of jury lists in the newspaper.

In 2003, the State Legislature enacted Act 1404, allowing the courts to create an enhanced jury list. The Act expands the list of prospective jurors to include licensed drivers and requires the Secretary of State's office to merge voter registration records with licensed drivers or those issued an identification card who meet the following requirements:

The law states the administrative circuit judge for each county will determine whether the list of registered voters or the enhanced list will be utilized in the selection of prospective jurors. The decision is based upon whether the use of only registered voters creates a sufficient pool for the selection of jurors to offer an adequate cross section of the community.

Besides the enhanced list there have been some other big changes for jury service in Lawrence County. The court has begun the use of a new summons form and a new software juror system that can randomly select potential jurors.

The Administrative Office of the Courts, which is the administrative arm of the Arkansas Supreme Court, offered the licensing and installation of jury software to Lawrence County at no cost.

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