Saturday, March 31, 2007

What They Don't Tell You - Jury Pools

LABELLE, FL. -- About once a month the Hendry Clerk's Office summons about 450 citizens to appear for jury duty. About sixty actually show up. Although the official summons mailed to names drawn from county driver's license records requires an appearance, only about one person in seven actually appears at the Courthouse. This Friday only 20 persons showed from about 150 summoned by the Clerk.

The clerk's office says this is typical, and they have no explanation for why so few show up. They also indicate those absent are not contacted to find out a reason. Technically, anyone not showing up as requested could be called before the judge to explain and face possible sanctions. This is a very unlikely scenario as it turns out. Nothing is done to those who ignore the summons. Those not showing up for jury duty do face being called upon every few months to serve though. But presumably, those people who ignored the first summons ignore any others as well.

Once a possible juror shows up though, they are not recalled for another year. And most usually cases are settled at the last minute by the parties. The juror pool is then excused and sent home without having done anything except show up at the courthouse for an hour.

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