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A section of the new $1.5 million jury selection room inside room 195 at City Hall.

— Submitted Photo

Jury duty can be a boring daylong process, but now citizens who have been called to participate in the selection for civil cases will be in a plush new waiting room inside City Hall.

The $1.5 million makeover of the jury room inside room 195 at City Hall officially opened this past week. City residents called to perform their civic duty will receive a new summons telling them where to report; either at the Juanita Kidd Stout Criminal Justice Center or the new room specifically for civil cases at City Hall. Two days a week the room will also be used for indicting grand juries.

Previously, potential jurors for civil cases were escorted by court officers to rooms at City Hall, now that process has been eliminated.

“We’ve experienced overcrowding in the Stout Criminal Justice building for quite some time,” said Judge Herron in a report published by KYW radio. “Moving panels to City Hall was an extraordinarily complex and difficult process, adding time. And this facility will alleviate all of that; we’ll bring jurors directly to City Hall.”

The spacious new waiting area has several flat screen televisions for people to watch and eight public access computers. Jurors can either watch popular programming or surf the Internet while waiting to be called for selection.

“We try to make the selection process as comfortable as we can,” said Tanya Covington, a jury selection commission employee. “It can be boring for some people; they bring books or their iPads if they have them. But now if they don’t have smart phones of iPads or didn’t bring a book they can surf the net on us. These are free computers and of course, they can watch our televisions. They made the room as nice as they could.”

Contact staff writer Larry Miller at (215) 893-5747 or lmiller@phillytrib.com

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