Kokua Line: How will I know whether I got out of jury duty?

·4 min read

Dec. 22—Question : I received a summons from the Circuit Court of the 1st Circuit, state of Hawaii, to appear as a trial juror during the week of Jan. 3, 2022. I also received a pre-service survey that asked if I am available to serve. I answered no, citing one of the reasons given, that I have significant concerns of contracting COVID-19 because I am age 65 or older (I am 77 ). I further explained that my wife and I also babysit 2-year-old twins and do not want to take the chance of transmitting the virus to them. I completed and submitted the online survey. Am I supposed to receive a reply by either my email or phone contact, which I was required to give, prior to the week of Jan. 3 ? How do I find out whether to report on that day ?

Answer : You should receive an email or letter soon, if you haven't already, saying whether you have been excused. Andrew Laurence, a Judiciary spokesman, explains how the process works, answering your question and others on this topic :

"The Jury Pool Office on Oahu reviews and responds to pre-service surveys in the order in which they are received. Approximately 100 to 200 surveys are submitted daily—online, by email, fax, and mailed through the postal service. Jurors normally receive notification from the Jury Pool Office two to three weeks prior to the date printed on their survey. If the survey is received late, the staff may contact them after that date. Staff will respond by email to jurors who provide their email address, otherwise, a printed letter is mailed to the address of record.

"The Jury Pool's pre-service survey now includes a section where potential jurors can indicate if they have significant concerns about contracting COVID-19 because of their age, or a medical condition that places them in an 'at risk' category, as well as other medical conditions not related to COVID-19. The court gives all due consideration to these concerns, and reviews any documentation that potential jurors provide, including doctor's certificates showing pre-existing medical conditions. The Judiciary keeps this information confidential to maintain privacy requirements.

"Should a juror be selected to serve, all jury trials follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Hawaii Department of Health.

"To ensure the health of all people summoned into courthouses, the Judiciary has implemented a number of strict safety precautions, " including requiring people to wear face coverings and practice social distancing ; all public areas are sanitized throughout the day.

"Jury trials are critical to our system of government, and jurors are essential to preserve the efficient operation of justice in the courts. The Hawaii State ­Judiciary is grateful for their efforts in fulfilling a necessary civic duty and complying with the rule of law by appearing when summoned."

Q : A large area at the Central Oahu Regional Park along Kamehameha Highway has been screened off for nearly a year. What is being constructed and when is the completion date ?

A : It's a $2.9 million project to create a parking lot with 182 spaces, including six that are ADA-compliant, said Nathan Serota, spokesman for the Honolulu County Department of Parks and Recreation. Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park, commonly known as CORP, "is one of our most popular parks, so increasing vehicular capacity is very much needed, " he said.

Peterson Bros. Construction Inc. is the contractor on the project, which began in February and is expected to open to the public by summer, Serota said.

"There were some lulls in the construction due to permitting issues, but those were resolved. Also, for many Capital Improvement Projects the last couple months are devoted to restoring the landscape within the project site. So while it may appear that no work is being done, that period is reserved for natural revitalization, " he said. "We greatly appreciate the patience of park users while this area is closed for improvement."

Portions of the black screen blocking dust from the construction zone are covered with graffiti, a complaint we shared with the city.------Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, HI 96813 ; call 808-529-4773 ; or email kokualine @staradvertiser.com.------

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