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Jury commissioner posts in county not restored

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Saturday, July 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Two Butler County commissioners are refusing to reinstate the two elected positions responsible for pulling together lists of prospective jurors, and the president of a state organization said a lawsuit is possible.

Butler County commissioners Bill McCarrier and Dale Pinkerton announced Wednesday they won't reverse their decision to abolish the two jury commissioner posts.

Larry A. Thompson, former county jury commissioner and president of the state jury commissioner association, said his organization and Jury Commissioners Clinton A. Bonetti and Jon Galante could sue for their reinstatement.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed legislation in May allowing counties to eliminate the position. The association has already appealed the legality of the bill in state Commonwealth Court.

Thompson maintains that eliminating the positions unfairly interfered with May's primary election, when Bonetti and Galante won nominations from the respective parties.

Jury commissioners help create jury pools for trials.

McCarrier and Pinkerton voted on May 23 to abolish the positions. The decision would deny Bonetti, a Democrat, and Galante, a Republican, both of Butler Township, a chance at re-election.

Their work would be done by the county's court administration office instead.

Commissioner James Eckstein supports keeping the jury commissioners.

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