2013-03-28 / Local & State

State Association Of Jury Commissioners Replies To Secretary Of The Commonwealth

The Pennsylvania State Association of Jury Commissioners has asked the Commonwealth Court to reject a suggestion by the secretary of the commonwealth that a primary election not be held for the office of jury commissioner.

Earlier this month the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled a law unconstitutional that allowed for the abolishment of the office if a majority of county commissioners so voted. The Pennsylvania State Association of Jury Commissioners has petitioned the Commonwealth Court to allow for a special period for nominating petitions to be filed and the election held on May 21, 2013, primary day, or a special election.

“The suggested remedy by the secretary of the commonwealth is inappropriate and could lead to the disenfranchise of the current jury commissioners,” said Larry Thompson, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Jury Commissioners

The reply by the jury commissioners association was filed with Commonwealth Court on Friday by attorney Sam Stretton. The secretary of the commonwealth asked to have a provision of the law involving a vacancy of an office after a primary election to be used. Stretton contended this is not the situation with the jury commissioners.

Stretton’s reply said enough time remains for a primary election to be held. “The requirement of an election shouldn’t be lightly disregarded,” the reply stated. “The current jury commissioners and those wishing to run should not be punished by a constitutional issue not of their making.” The document also said precedent has been set for expanding the time to file nominating petitions.

Stretton’s reply also suggested without a primary the Legislature with the backing of the state association of commissioners could again attempt to pass legislation to eliminate the office. The state jury commissioners association has stated it will legally fight any attempt to do so. Also, the reply said, the secretary of the commonwealth’s suggested remedy would allow the political parties to select candidates and not the voters.

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