Further Information David Bookstaver New York Stat e Communications Director Unified Court System Mai Yee, Communication Officer (212)428-2505 Jonathan Lippman Chief Administrative Judge


Release: Immediate, April 29, 1998

Court System Appoints Committee of Lawyers to Enhance the Jury Process

NEW YORK--Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced the appointment of the Committee of Lawyers to Enhance the Jury Process. The members of the committee, almost all of whom have served as jurors, will examine the procedural and ethical issues occasioned by the repeal of the bar’s automatic exemption from jury service, and recommend improvements to the jury process. The Committee is part of the court system’s ongoing jury reform program, which is based on the recommendations in the 1993 report of The Jury Project.

Chief Judge Kaye said, "Reform of the jury system remains one of the court system’s highest priorities. In partnership with the Legislature over the past several years, we have introduced many meaningful reforms, including abolition of automatic exemptions on the basis of occupation, which has resulted in many lawyers and judges serving on juries. The time has come to examine the experiences of these individuals, and to learn from them what we should be doing to ensure that the participation of lawyers and others on juries takes place in the most efficient and effective manner possible. No one could be better suited to carry out this important assignment than this group of outstanding lawyers who have experienced the jury process first-hand."

Chief Administrative Judge Lippman added, "The court system is fully committed to a jury system that is sensible, organized and efficient for all our citizens. Toward this end, we have appointed the Committee of Lawyers to Enhance the Jury Process. Hundreds of lawyers around the State have seen the jury system from an entirely new perspective since the occupational exemption for lawyers was eliminated on January 1, 1996. By virtue of their profession, these lawyer-citizens have a unique insight into the jury system and are in an excellent position to suggest both appropriate changes in current practice and new ways in which the bar and the judiciary can work together to improve the jury process."

The committee will be chaired by Gregory P. Joseph, a member of the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, and current Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation. The members of the committee are: Gerald Beckerman, Beckerman & Beckerman, Rochester; Isabel E. Buse, Family Court Hearing Examiner, Central Islip; Peter V. Coffey, Parisi, Englert, Stillman, Coffey & McHugh, Schenectady; Rafael DeClet, Law Clerk to Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, New York; Rana K. Dershowitz, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, New York; Donald B. Eppers, Brown & Kelly, Buffalo; Carol Zenzel Gosier, Sonneborn Law Office, Syracuse; John DeWitt Gregory, Hofstra Law School, Hempstead; Alison E. Greene, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, New York; Claire P. Gutekunst, Proskauer Rose, New York; Peter M. Hobaica, Hage and Hobaica, Utica; Mary B. Kavaney, Tamsen & Associates, Newburgh; Lawrence A. Kobrin, Cahill Gordon & Reindel, New York; Arthur S. Leonard, New York Law School, New York; A. Thomas Levin, Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, Mineola; Joan H. McCarthy, Law Secretary to Hon. Ralph A. Beisner, Poughkeepsie; and Gerald Walpin, Rosenman & Colin, New York.