Sheriff's deputies were forced to shop for potential jurors at a shopping mall after Common Pleas Court's jury pool was exhausted and a homicide trial was scheduled.
Two deputies, carrying court orders and invoking a state law, walked the hallways of the Beaver Valley Mall late Thursday, recruiting shoppers for jury duty.Thirteen shoppers were given summonses that ordered them to appear Friday morning for jury duty.
Deputy Victoria DeBona, one of the deputies assigned to find jurors, said several shoppers who were approached called Center Township police, where the mall is located, to report people were impersonating sheriff's deputies.
"No, no. You've already got me. Leave my wife alone," DeBona said a man yelled as she approached one woman.
DeBona said she excused another woman because her vacation was to start Friday.
Before giving out the summonses, she and Deputy Randy Tallon asked shoppers whether they were American citizens and residents of Beaver County, whether they could read and write and if they were 18 or older, which are all basic requirements to serve on a jury, DeBona said.
"The word must have gotten around the mall, because people approaching us were saying they were from West Virginia or out of the county before we could even open our mouths," she said.
Judge Robert Kunselman signed the juror roundup order under Rule 1109 of the state Rules of Criminal Procedure, said County Court Administrator Joseph Cabraja.
The week's schedule of trials was lengthy and exhausted the suppy of jurors who had been summoned by mail, Cabraja said.
The judge's order said those recruited should be average citizens, and a mall seemed like a good place to find a cross-section of people, Cabraja said.
Two of the people summoned at the mall were seated, both as alternate jurors, DeBona said.