December 11, 2014
One of the elements that add realism to the one-day trials that culminate the Trial Advocacy course at McGeorge is the presence of citizen jurors.
While a real-life judge presides over each trial, students argue their case to a group of independent-minded individuals weighing every action of the parties participating in the trial.
Back in the 1980s, McGeorge juries were drawn from high schools, colleges, civic organizations, and fellow law students. But a full-day trial proved to be too much for most working persons and full-time students so retirees are now the backbone of the Trial Advocacy juror pool. One such person who exemplifies the dedication and support that these senior citizens have lent to the Trial Ad program was honored last month during a student trial.
On Nov. 11, 2014, Lucy Palmer received a plaque commemorating her quarter-century of service in the McGeorge courtroom from Professor Jay Leach. The 88-year-old was pleased to be singled out for her service, but modest about her time commitment at the law school.
"I enjoy coming here, and it's one of the many things I try to do to keep sharp and attentive to detail," said Palmer, who also has worked thousands of hours over the last 18 years as a Sacramento Police Department office volunteer.
"Lucy is a wonderful person, and many of us have gotten to know her well here," Professor Leach, the director of the Trial Ad program, said. "We really appreciate her service, and the students enjoy listening to her comments when the case goes to the jury at the end of the day."
"I came here in 1992, and she was already a veteran juror in the program," said Professor Joe Taylor. "Even though she uses a walker now, you'd better stay out of her way when the jurors head for the jury room. She's often the first one there, and the first one to bring up a salient point related to the case."
Palmer has seen more than 200 student attorneys in action, according to her own estimate. So she has some sage advice for future Trial Ad students: "I believe in being factual and concise. That's what impresses me and my follow jurors."