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The rules are changing on how to be a juror in Michigan

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
The seal of the Michigan Supreme Court

Beginning this fall, people serving on Michigan juries will be allowed to play a more active role in the pursuit of justice.   The Michigan Supreme Court announced today that it is revising the rules for people serving as jurors.

Until now, jurors were generally expected to sit back, watch the proceedings and wait until both sides had wrapped up their arguments before being able to even discuss the case with other members of the jury. But beginning September 1st, jurors will be allowed to take notes, discuss the case and even ask questions.

Chief Justice Robert Young says the new rules will help the essential function of trials, which is to find the truth. 

“These were not well received by lawyers, as most change is not well received by lawyers and judges. But the pilot project…persuaded the cast majority of the court that these were worthy…of implementation.”

Many other states, including Arizona and Massachusetts, have implemented similar new rules for serving on a jury. 

The Michigan Supreme Court has been studying possible changes to juror rules since 2005.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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