Celebrity Jurors Help Postal Service Issue Jury Duty Stamp

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Sep 12, 2007, 01:00 ET from U.S. Postal Service

    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
     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
     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:
     DEPT 6270
     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:
     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