It’s not like the movies
It is likely Douglas County will be calling up one jury after another this year, filling the Judicial & Law Enforcement Center to near bursting at least one day a week.
On Tuesday more than 100 potential jurors turned up on the same day as a meeting at the center, filling the parking lot and testing security and bailiffs during the morning.
The good news is that like a flash flood, the tide of humanity passed quickly, but that’s not going to be the case every time.
The district courts in Minden aren’t the busiest in the state, nor are they the most crowded. There were 198 criminal and 1,001 civil cases filed in district court during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019, according to the Nevada Judicial annual report.
That same report shows the district judges making headway against the backlog with 1,470 cases disposed.
A jury trial, however, and especially one involving a defendant who does not speak English, is expensive and complicated for everyone.
With the departure of Chief Deputy District Attorney Ric Casper for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and District Attorney Mark Jackson’s work on the Ranchos homicides, the prosecution is short-handed.
We’re still waiting to learn if the Nevada Supreme Court will require Douglas to prosecute those homicides.
A prosecution in that case could top $1 million and would be the first death penalty case in Douglas in a very long time.
On Jan. 1, several defendants represented by contract attorneys found they had a new lawyer, further complicating the issue.
One thing that is working in favor of the judiciary in Douglas County are its citizens.
Serving jury duty is the next most important function a resident can perform after voting. We can each protect the rule of law in our community by stepping up and serving when called.