Westmoreland officials vote to abolish jury commissioners
Starting in 2014, jury commissioners will no longer exist in Westmoreland County.
Commissioners Charles Anderson, Tyler Courtney and Ted Kopas voted on Thursday to abolish the elected office that oversees jury selection. The change was made possible under a law signed last month by Gov. Tom Corbett.
Democrat Dan Blissman and a Republican who will be appointed by President Judge Gary Caruso will continue to serve in office through the end of the current term.
Jury commissioners earn about $17,000 in Westmoreland County. The positions are considered part-time jobs. Jury commissioner functions eventually will be absorbed by the court administrator's office.
Larry Thompson, the Republican jury commissioner in Butler County, who serves as president of the Jury Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, told the county commissioners yesterday it was a mistake to abolish the office.
"Gentleman, if you vote this day to abolish the elected office of jury commissioner in Westmoreland County, you will be willing participants in the overturning of 144 years of prospective jury selection reform in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Thompson said.
The association has filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court asking the appeals court to invalidate the new law that allows commissioners to do away with the jury commissioners office.
The lawsuit is pending.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.