A San Francisco judge has been appointed chair of a 25-member panel charged with the responsibility of drafting civil and criminal jury instructions that accurately state the law and are easy for jurors to understand.
Justice Carol Corrigan of the First District Court of Appeal was appointed chair of the Judicial Council's Task Force on Jury Instruction.
Chief Justice Ronald George also appointed Justice James D. Ward of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Bernardino as vice chair. Ward currently is chairing a seven-member State Bar-appointed committee which is studying the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE).
Members of the new Task Force on Jury Instruction include attorneys, judges and academicians. Two public members and an official reporter also will be appointed.
The Task Force on Jury Instruction was formed following a recommendation from last year's Blue Ribbon Commission on Jury System Improvement, delegated by the Judicial Council to examine the state's jury system.
In addition to creating the task force, the Judicial Council has voted to sponsor jury system improvement legislation in 1997. Among other things, the council plans to support an increase in juror fees and mandatory jury service for all qualified citizens.