Dear Editor:

Last week only 29 jurors of a total 65 summoned appeared for jury duty. An unusually large number had been excused for lawful reasons which we judges have approved. Some had moved and could not serve and, sadly, one was deceased.

But 13 simply did not appear. We have asked the Sheriff's Department to personally serve each of those persons with an order directing them to appear in court to explain why. Perhaps there are good reasons.

One of the many blessings we have living in this magnificent, free nation is the jury system. When we summon a jury we bring randomly selected citizens into the courtroom and ask them to fairly and without bias judge the truth of contested facts and to thereby play a critical role in the administration of justice.

Most counties in the world exclude citizens from this role; we in the United States treasure it.

When you are summoned to serve as a juror, remember your service is vital to American justice. Service is both your duty and your privilege as a citizen of the United States.

Circuit Judge Val Gunnarsson

Associate Judge Jerry Kane