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June 2002

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


Doors Open to Teens

It's an adult topic —one that federal judges hope teenagers will want to discuss and experience. This fall, courts will invite high school students to learn about one of their most important duties as citizens, an adult rite of passage as important as voting. That duty is jury service.

As part of the Judiciary's national educational outreach initiative, local courts may participate in the Open Doors to Federal Courts program on the designated national event day on November 13, or they may host the program anytime during the week of November 11, or throughout 2002. The topic of this year's Open Doors is Jury Service: A Rite of Passage.

The goal of the program is to present jury service as a privilege and an adult responsibility. The 18-year old age group is targeted with the goal of increasing their court literacy—and the likelihood they will respond positively to jury summons later on in their adult lives.

The day-long program will simulate the process of jury service, from summons and juror questionnaire through jury selection, trial, deliberation and verdict. Judges from the participating courts and local attorneys will lend authenticity to the proceedings. Prior to the program, teachers will be prepared through a Teachers Institute/Program Orientation at the courthouse. They'll then carry lesson plans back to their classrooms, where students receive their summons and juror questionnaires. On the day of the Open Doors program, students are ready to become jurors and participate fully in events.

For more information on the program and participating courthouses, contact national outreach manager Rebecca Fanning at rebecca_fanning@ao.uscourts.gov.