Philadelphia jurors thanked with Phanatic visit, doughnuts

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Potential Philadelphia jurors had a surprise waiting for them when they came to the courthouse today. The Phillie Phanatic was up to his antics and Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright gave a motivational speech as part of juror appreciation week.

Administrative Judge Jacqueline Allen of the First Judicial District says she hopes it makes jury duty a more positive experience.

“Basic civics tells us that you’d want someone just as fair as you are to sit and listen to a case that you had,” she said.  “What we try to say to citizens is it is an obligation and at times an inconvenience to you but we do our best to make it as pleasant an experience as it can be.”

Reacting to complaints, the city courts are bringing back a creature comforts such as coffee and doughnuts which were phased out seven years ago.

Judge Shiela Woods Skipper says about 20 percent of people still ignore their jury summons in Philadelphia.

“When they don’t come there are cases that can’t be heard because don’t have enough jurors to supply each of  the courtrooms,” she said.

She says they are working in other ways to reach those 20 percent, but are hoping a little appreciation will help.

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