Monday, May 10, 2010

Avoiding Jury Duty In Hendry

Most People Ignore Jury Duty Summons

LABELLE, FL. -- It's 8:30 a.m. at the historic Hendry County Courthouse in downtown LaBelle. About 50 people sit quietly filling out paperwork for the court, and others occasionally talking with fellow prospective jury members in Court Room number 1.

The two score and a half showing up today for jury duty, are only about 15% of the actual 350 jury appearance summonses for today, sent out several weeks ago by the Hendry Clerk of Court Barbara Butler demanding an appearance for jury duty.

Most of the 300 prospective jurors are presumably out and about around Hendry county, doing their own thing today, ignoring the summons for jury duty today, for each of their own reasons, defying the court's order. Some may be ill, some may have changed addresses without notifying the Driver's License Bureau, some had notified the court beforehand of legitimate excuses to not appear, but most are just simply ignoring the summons.

For those who do show up, they may be entitled to a token payment of $12 daily for duty should they be one of six chosen for a jury, if they are not also being paid by their employers while at court. For the other 300 not showing up, maybe they have a job and just can't afford to take a day off. Or maybe they're just lazy.

Circuit Judge Christine Greider, who greeted the jury pool this morning before selection started, is aware that many just simply don't show up for jury duty and gave her heartfelt thanks to those who did show up.

Greider explains that she had seven trials set for today but as is typical, defendants make last-minute plea agreements to avoid a trial, and she said six of the seven defendants pled guilty this morning, leaving only one defendant who wanted to proceed to trial.

Done. By about noon, six jurors are chosen after a bit of attorney questioning of some of the jury pool. Greider dismisses the remainder, and takes a short break, after again thanking those not chosen and dismissing them from further obligation this week.

Citizens 18 years and older are likely to get about one jury duty summons a year under the current circumstance of most people not bothering to show up. That's assuming you actually have shown up at court for jury duty before. If you aren't required to come in or ignore the summons, expect a summons every few months. The court must send out many hundreds of letters for each trial in order to get 40 to 50 to show up, for which six to seven jurors must be selected.


  1. Anonymous9:27 AM

    In the last 4 months I have received 3 jury summons. I called in on the first two, this last one I will ignore. I have a job that dosen't pay me if I'm not there and my husband is unemployed, I can't afford to lose my job which will likely happen if I keep telling my boss that I may have to miss work due to jury duty. Once a year I dont have a problem with it, but every 6 weeks I do.

  2. Anonymous9:34 PM

    Great Article! I too have noticed each time I appear for Jury Duty, the numbers for the day are in the 300's and about 60 people show up, hooray for Americans who answer the call of duty as a citizen.

    Emory Howard

  3. Jury service is an opportunity to judge the law,
    see But citizens cannot be
    conscripted (enslaved, summoned) simply
    because the state owes the accused a jury.

    Slavery is illegal, even when the state does it.
    Your jury letter is merely an invitation
    that the state is obliged to make random.

  4. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Answering a jury summons is your obligation as a citizen of the United States and the State of Florida. If you meet the legal requirements for an excuse not to serve, you will be excused. Otherwise, follow the law and answer your summons.

    Emory Howard

  5. Anonymous9:38 PM

    I get a jury summons about every three months - not once a year!

  6. Anonymous3:43 AM

    My wife and I get jury summons twice a year or more since moving to Hendry County. It's ridiculous. I'm terrified we'll lose our jobs because of it: seems like every time an important deadline approaches, a jury summons appears.

    Friends at work are shocked. Only one of them has ever gotten a summons, the others didn't even KNOW anyone that had gotten a summons (except us). I felt like my wife and I were being harassed.

    I guess this explains it, then. When they call juror numbers 1 to 300 and ten people show up, I'll understand why.

    Seriously irritating, though. And don't bother telling me it's "my duty" -- I did plenty of duty in uniform, thanks, and I've served on five juries in the past four years in this dump. I feel like a sucker. I am a sucker.

    Dear Hendry County criminals / lawsuit-lovers, please give me a year off. Thanks in advance!

  7. Anonymous3:03 AM

    US citizen is a legal term. look it up in a legal dictionary.

  8. Anonymous9:30 PM

    We moved to LaBelle in December 2012. We registered our vehicles in February 2013. We have received 3 Jury Notices since then. My husband has received 3 as have I. My brother-in-law received 2 Notices before he moved. I have served on Grand Juries and others before. I think that 3 notices in less than 2 years is a bit much.