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State's jury commissioners to take legal action to keep elected office

Published July 24. 2012 04:35PM

The Pennsylvania Association of Jury Commissioners begins its annual meeting this week vowing to pursue legal action to keep Jury Commissioner offices an elected one across Pennsylvania.

"We are waiting on a decision by the Commonwealth Court on our legal challenge to a new law that would allow county commissioners to abolish the elected jury commissioner position," said Larry Thompson, President of the Pennsylvania Association of Jury Commissioners. "We're confident the courts will invalidate the law."

According to Thompson, the law now being reviewed by the state appellate court allows county commissioners to abolish the office of jury commissioner by a simple majority vote. He said the law is tantamount to the executive branch of government moving against and regulating the judicial branch and is a violation of separation of powers.

"To empower the county commissioners to eliminate an elected office of the people with a simple majority vote has no place in the arena of a free people," Thompson said. "This is a dangerous and disgraceful piece of legislation that never should have seen the light of day or the ink of a governor's pen."

The four-day conference of the Pennsylvania Association of Jury Commissioners begins Wednesday in Harrisburg at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Thompson will give the welcoming address on Wednesday evening. A report on the lawsuit is scheduled to be presented on Friday by legal counsel.

Also on Friday, the President's Banquet will be held and Thompson will give remarks before the new officers of the organization receive their oath of offices.

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