RALEIGH, N.C. – (CBS Charlotte) – Hoping to help jurors cope with the sometimes brutal realities of the cases they decide, North Carolina has developed a program to help them cope after the final gavel bang.
The Jury Assistance Program, developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts for the state, is designed to offer jurors a way to process the sometimes gruesome details of a particular trial.
“We understand that some citizens who serve on certain murder and sex offense trials may experience stress as a result of their exposure to particularly horrific information,” NCAOC director John Smith stated in a memorandum issued to judges and court officials throughout the state.
He continued, “To assist jury members in successfully coping with emotional and psychological issues brought forth from their participation on such a trial, we have developed the Juror Assistance Program.”
The program, administered by Deer Oaks Employee Assistance Program Services, will make counseling available to traumatized jurors every hour of every day.
“Jurors in cases in which the trial judge determines that the evidence in a murder or sexual assault trial is of such a nature that it might cause mental distress will be provided a toll-free number where they may contact a licensed mental health professional for one confidential telephonic triage or face-to-face assessment,” Smith said.