CARSON CITY – Capital city resident Mark Gibbons was at Carson District Court on Monday but the visit wasn’t in his official capacity as chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court.
No, Gibbons was called for jury duty, just like any other resident. And like any other resident, he was picked for the jury.
He will be in court through Friday to hear a criminal case involving a Douglas County man who allegedly waved a gun during an incident at the Carson City Olive Garden restaurant on July 21, 2013. The trial is expected to last through Friday.
Gibbons said he will work in the evening during the week to keep up with the Supreme Court’s business.
Gibbons listened with about 100 other potential jurors to District Judge James Wilson talk about the jury selection process in a criminal case when court convened early Monday. Wilson noted that jury service is important, even though it likely interrupted the plans of all those called as potential jurors.
Gibbons said he received a jury notice in the mail and showed up as instructed after rearranging his schedule.
“It’s the first time it has ever happened to me and I wanted to fully participate in the process like I think all citizens should,” he said. “I’ve probably done 150 jury trials as a trial judge but this is the first time as actually potentially serving on a jury.”
As further evidence that Gibbons was being treated like any other juror, he had to go through the security screening, which resulted in him having to take his shoes off to get through the metal detector.
Jury service is rare for members of the judiciary. Members of the Supreme Court indicated they have not served as jurors. Justice Ron Parraguirre said through a court spokesman that he was called to jury duty while serving as a Clark County District Judge, but was not selected. Justice Michael Cherry received a questionnaire for federal jury service but was not called. Justice James Hardesty was summoned but the trial was cancelled.
But it is not unheard of.
Clark County District Court Chief Judge Jennifer Togliatti served as a juror in a civil case involving a personal injury claim about a decade ago before then-Judge Stewart Bell. She said through a spokeswoman that the jury found for the plaintiff in a slip and fall case in a casino restroom in a non-unanimous verdict.
“It’s a whole new experience where the attorneys question me and I answer their questions truthfully and honestly and that’s what I’ll do,” Gibbons said. “I’m being a good citizen and I wish everyone would be too when they get the jury summons.”
Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.