WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- The U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of drawing attention to important social causes by issuing the Jury Duty stamp at the Manhattan State Supreme Court today, September 12, in New York City. The first-day-of-issuance ceremony highlighted the Juror Appreciation Day celebration, an annual event that salutes New York jurors. Mary Anne Gibbons, senior vice president, general counsel of the Postal Service co-hosted the ceremony with Chief Judge Judith Kaye of New York. "Serving on a jury is an important part of public service to our communities," said Gibbons. "It is a role that should be taken most seriously. This stamp is an excellent way to highlight its significance." "I am thrilled by the Postal Service's issuance of the Jury Duty stamp, which celebrates the important role of our citizenry in the delivery of justice," said Chief Judge Kaye. "We rightly take pride in this uniquely American institution, which has been a great strength of our nation from its very beginnings." With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service calls attention to the importance of jury service, an essential obligation, shared by all eligible citizens, that is a cornerstone of democracy in the United States. By showing a diverse group of 12 representative jurors in silhouette, art director Carl T. Herrman and stamp designer Lance Hidy emphasize that, under the U.S. Constitution, the American jury system guarantees citizens the right to a trial by a jury of their peers. Joining Gibbons and Judge Kaye were Robert J. Grey, Jr., Past President, American Bar Association; Sade Baderinwa, Co-anchor Eyewitness News, WABC-TV, New York, who emceed the event; celebrity jurors Cindy Adams, New York Post Columnist; Mariah Carey, singer/actress; Bernadette Peters, actress/singer; Paulina Porizkova, supermodel/actress; and, Richard Thomas, actor. Other attendees included judges from across the country. The Postal Service produced 40 million 41-cent stamps in pane of 20. Beginning today, the Jury Duty stamp can be purchased online at the Postal Store at http://www.usps.com/shop, by calling toll-free 800-STAMP-24, at philatelic centers nationwide and at local Post Offices. An independent federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that visits every address in the nation, 146 million homes and businesses, six days a week. It has 37,000 retail locations and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to pay for operating expenses, not tax dollars. The Postal Service has annual revenues of $73 billion and delivers nearly half the world's mail. Jury Duty Background On September 12, 2007, Post Offices nationwide will release the Jury Duty Social Awareness stamp. By showing a diverse group of 12 representative jurors in silhouette, art director Carl T. Herrman and stamp designer Lance Hidy emphasize that, under the U.S. Constitution, the American jury system guarantees citizens the right to a trial by a jury of their peers. Generally, in criminal cases, 12 jurors stand between the accused and the power of the government. Unless the government convinces a jury of the accused person's guilt --- beyond a reasonable doubt --- it may not deprive a citizen of life, liberty or property. In civil cases, a jury represents the conscience of the larger community, ruling in favor of either of the opposing parties in a dispute. An important basis of the American jury system can be found in legal procedures established in medieval England during the rule of King Henry II. At that time, new legal actions known as "assizes" brought 12 local men together to resolve questions over ownership and inheritance. A forerunner of today's grand jury was introduced in 1166, when panels of "lawful men" were required under oath to identify anyone in their community who was suspected of a crime. In 1215, King John signed the Magna Carta, subjecting the monarch to the rule of law. The Magna Carta declared that "no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned ... except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." Records show that English juries were often reluctant to convict accused felons in less serious cases, given the customary penalty of death. In this way, juries acquired the reputation of being protectors of individual liberty. Until 1825, the English government could in turn deprive jurors of their property and liberty if it determined they had returned an "untrue" verdict. In the American colonies, juries showed their reluctance to convict under oppressive British laws. In New York, for example, when publisher John Peter Zenger was put on trial for printing articles critical of a colonial official, a jury acquitted him. The British retaliated against American juries by setting up special courts in which jury trials were not used. The Declaration of Independence contains a complaint against the British king "for depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury." Writers have capitalized on the inherent drama of the jury system in a variety of creative works such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Twelve Angry Men. Jury service remains a vital facet of American democracy. Forty million of the Jury Duty stamps were printed. For more information on the Jury Duty commemorative stamp, visit http://www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2007stamps/. Philatelic Products There are three philatelic products available for this stamp issue: -- 461761 --- First Day Cover, $0.79. -- 461791 --- Ceremony Program, $6.95. -- 461793 --- Cancellation Keepsake (First Day Cover w/Pane), $8.99. How to Order First Day Covers Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first day of issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to: INFORMATION FULFILLMENT DEPT 6270 US POSTAL SERVICE PO BOX 219014 KANSAS CITY MO 64121-9014 How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark Customers have 60 days to obtain the first day of issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, or at The Postal Store Web site at http://www.usps.com/shop. or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to: JURY DUTY STAMP POSTMASTER 421 EIGHTH AVE RM 2029B NEW YORK NY 10199-9998 After applying the first day of issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by November 11, 2007.
SOURCE U.S. Postal Service