Just turned on Channel 4 News which seemed to be covering trials, the length of them and if juries can understand their complex nature. As soon as I had turned the television on, it was covering the fact that a trial had to be postponed for a day because a member of the jury’s hearing aid broke. Does anyone know any further details about this?
Whilst hearing aids are acceptable over here (without communication support), having communication support is not. It becomes the 13th person issue, within the deliberation room. It seems rather bizarre that a juror functioning with a hearing aid alone (after all, it does not replace natural hearing) is safer or indeed more legal than one who is relying on communication via a third party.
The rest of the Commissioner’s Letter
Here’s the rest of the Commissioner’s letter from the other day. I was startled to see the fact in the following:
The current schedule for ASL interpreters has deaf jurors scheduled one each Monday from now until January 31, 2005. We can only schedule one (deaf juror) per week as there are a limited number of ASL interpreters available to us and if a deaf juror were empanelled, the interpreters would have to serve that juror on a trial and wouldn’t be available throughout the week.
Sacramento County, CA Jury Commissioner Letter
I had told a friend of mine, another attorney who has a profound hearing loss but is not technically deaf, about my recent and ongoing experience with the Sacramento County call to juror service. She decided to send an inquiry to the Commissioner to see why deaf people have to go and show up in the jury waiting room rather than going online to see if their juror pool number or go on the telephone and see if the pool number gets called in.