Most People Don't Show Up for Jury Duty in Maricopa County

empty-jury.jpg
Chris Spavins via Flickr


Statistically, most people who are summoned for jury duty in Maricopa County just don't show up.

Maricopa County Superior Court officials say they're enacting a "get tough policy" for the people who get a jury summons in the mail and promptly toss it in the garbage.

According to a court spokeswoman, the appearance rate for jury duty is about 44 percent. In April, for example, 9,958 jurors were supposed to show up, and only 4,427 appeared.

There are a couple of problems with that, in the court's eyes. First of all, the accused have a right to a jury, so a lack of jurors could make things difficult.

Additionally, the court says each jury summons costs $1.50 to the taxpayers, for labor, printing, postage, and whatnot -- adding up more than $8,000 a month, and almost $100,000 per year.

That's why the "get tough policy" comes into play. In March, the Superior Court's Jury Office brought in 17 jurors who failed to actually show up to their jury duty, despite all receiving three summonses. Judge Janet Barton found that 12 of those jurors disobeyed orders of the court and fined them. The maximum fine is $500.

Perhaps the worst part for the jury-duty-skipping people is that they were each ordered to complete jury service -- even the ones who were found not guilty of disobeying a court order.

People usually get a summons weeks in advance and can reschedule it, so the court doesn't seem to be too sympathetic to repeat jury duty skippers here.

These jury-skipping hearings are planned to be held four times a year, and it looks like they're only going after people who fail to appear after being summoned twice.

Check out the court's PSA below:


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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.


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45 comments
msbizaz
msbizaz

the personnel the superior court employs are not qualified for much more than office staff. i was summoned for duty, and i have custody of 3 special needs children whose parents bailed on them.  they require constant supervision and have LIFETIME (key word) disabilities. therefore, since the disabilities are LIFETIME, evaluations are conducted ONCE PER YEAR. the court personnel do not know how to read psychiatric and educational IEP reports, and they said i have to show up as my 'documents are outdated'. Wow. how stupid. did it occur to them they are not actually credentialed to be able comprehend the contents of these kinds of reports, and therefore, they are not qualified to function in the position for which they were hired. If my group is called in, i will not go. what will happen at 3pm when the bus drops off my youngest? he will go into full tilt panic if he gets home and i am not here - not to mention it's in his IEP that he cannot be dropped off unattended.  get a babysitter you say??? you try raising 3 special needs kids ---- you CAN'T get a babysitter! so maricopa county - quit your bitchin, hire more qualified, intelligent personnel, and you won't have so much animosity permeating your so-called juror program. :^P

wqcharleston
wqcharleston

I hope they come after me. I keep getting notices, I call and tell them I am now registered to vote in San Antonio, TX.  But still they keep coming.  I would love to come back to AZ for a vacation.  I don't even care if one of Joe's arthritic posse members picks me up in his 1961 Buick and drives me back.  I want to visit. Please, please come and get me. 

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

Skipping Jury duty should mean a mandatory day in jail.  It is a RESPONSIBILITY of all citizens!

MandyMountain
MandyMountain

 Every time I've ever shown up, the prostitution dismisses me because I got busted for pot four decades back. I can understand them not wanting to have anyone on the jury who has been through the mill. Gotta have clueless squares who suck up to authority figures as a default. However, it gets old after a while.

Also, this sort of thing makes one think about the make up of juries, and how they get manipulated.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

I've learned a lot from serving on jury duty.   You learn that the judge doesn't really want you to decide if the defendant is guilty or not, they just want you to decide the answers to some very specific questions, which they expect to force you into a verdict.   You learn that most of a trial is actually hidden from the jury, and that the quickest way to get kicked out is to see or hear something that the jury isn't supposed to know.

You also learn that police work, and forensics in particular, is not really at all like what you see on TV.

And you might learn some interesting things about police work and crime in the Valley.

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

LOL...you get to learn about the judicial system up close and personal...

Thats funny.

Show up and watch the Prosecutors lie, hide evidence from the defense, make shit up as they go along and the Courts close their eyes to equal and fair justice ?

I'd show up just to vote Not Guilty.


shadeaux14
shadeaux14

The problem with the Maricopa County jury system is that it is in Maricopa County, where the biggest crooks, liars and thieves wear badges.

Swoosh
Swoosh

Why should we show up for a system that is against the people?  For $8.58 in reimbursement for our 4-8 hours of time? 

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

You believe it and I believe it but I don't see that it is likely to be able to be taught against a persons' own belief.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@MandyMountain 

Yes, they want people who are clueless and acquiescent, which is another reason why the rest of us should make an extra effort to serve. 

marcy
marcy

@valleynative 

... and what most people who end up on a jury don't know is that cops lie and fudge their testimony almost all the time.


jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

I agree with your point. But note that a jury can nullify corrupt police, prosecutors, and judges.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Swoosh  

If that's a financial hardship for you, there is a special fund available.

My employers have always given me paid time off for jury duty.

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

Because it's your duty as a citizen. It's a system established by the US and AZ Constitutions. If you shirk jury duty, don't vote. You have no right to make decisions affecting others.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@marcy  I wasn't going to say it, but another thing you learn is how frighteningly stupid and gullible jurors can be.   Many of them can't seem to grasp the fact that what the attorneys say in their opening and closing arguments is not the same as testimony.  They're not being nice and summarizing what was said, they may very well be just making stuff up.

Prosecutors like to paint themselves as being on the side of justice, while the defense is on the side of "getting away with crime".

Defense attorneys, in particular like to try to create doubt by such things as "and what about the man that one of the dozen witnesses thinks he saw, but who the police never questioned?" or "What vehicle created that tire mark in the street in front of the house?"

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

@jonnyquest  

...and how often does that happen ?

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative @Swoosh I think that legally, your employer has to give you the time off, and if you are salaried, that means it also doesn't impact your pay.

Swoosh
Swoosh

Jury duty and voting are not the same thing.  Nice try.

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

The effect is the same. The prosecution didn't disclose all evidence (corruption?) and the judge kept trying to get Zimmerman on the stand. Both wanted him found guilty. In truth, maybe he was. But a railroading didn't work.

marcy
marcy

@jonnyquest 

Nullification is really where there is clear evidence of a violation of a specific statute and the jury decides on a not guilty verdict anyways.

In the Zimmerman case there was reasonable doubt and the jury didn't nullify,

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

@jonnyquest  

This is true, I can't argue with that. Point well taken.

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

It happened in the Zimmerman case.

Swoosh
Swoosh

@jonnyquestOkay guy.  

America has no functioning democracy,” President Jimmy Carter 07/16/2013

 

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

If you're willing to make up excuses to dodge jury duty, I don't believe your oath to defend goes very far.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@marcy  It isn't a legal obligation.  It's a civic duty.

Very different concepts.

Swoosh
Swoosh

@jonnyquest

@jonnyquest Wrong.  No, I did not serve In the military, I served the military, and as a former federal employee I also took an oath that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and still uphold that oath to this day.

Cheers!

Swoosh
Swoosh

@jonnyquest Wrong.  No, I did not serve In the military, I served the military, and as a former federal employee I also took an oath that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and still uphold that oath to this day.

Cheers!

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

Lawyers make a good living convincing stupid and gullible people that day is night and wrong is right. That's why most politicians are lawyers. Jury duty is just that, a duty.

marcy
marcy

@jonnyquest 

Where in the US Constitution is jury duty made a duty?  The word is only used once and not in the context of it being our duty.

It is only a requirement when demanded of us by the government, similar to the requirement that we register our cars.

You can't volunteer for jury duty, you can't even register for jury duty.  In fact the potential jury pool is culled from registered voters and people who have driver's licenses.  If you don't care to participate in either of those two activities then you apparently have no "duty" to serve on a jury because you are unable to do so as you will never be called.

It's not a duty.

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

No doubt proudly voting for everything your country can do for you, not what you can do for your country. You've never served in the military have you?

Swoosh
Swoosh

@valleynative@Swoosh

I think you still didn't read it my friend.

jonnyquest said "... it IS best that he not serve. He shouldn't vote either. Both require placing the welfare of the whole above your own..."

Swoosh said "...That's why you people continue to vote Republican and Democrat, for the welfare of the whole above your own?!?!?!?..."

YOU (valleynative) said: "...What, in your mind, does that have to do with jury duty?"

  Get it? Got it? Good.

By the way if you honestly think Republicans and Democrats have nothing to do with our joke of a judicial system,  you are way behind in what is really going on my friend!  It has everything to do with it!  I hope you figure it out soon!

Take care!


jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

So I get the feeling you don't vote or do jury duty. Ok, all is good.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Swoosh

I read the conversation.  You shouldn't be calling others "slow".  The two party system we're saddled with has nothing to do with the court system.

 You seem to be confusing the two parties with either "government" or "authority".  Not sure which.

Swoosh
Swoosh

@valleynative @Swoosh If you actually took the blindfold off, opened your mind and read the conversation you would know why that was brought up.  Slow much?  I think so.

Swoosh
Swoosh

@jonnyquest You couldn't make me mad if you tried guy!  I know your kind and I know I am smarter and stronger than your kind.  I am never threatened by inferiority!

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Swoosh  

I have no patience for Republicans or Democrats.

What, in your mind, does that have to do with jury duty?

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

Don't go away mad. Just go away. And don't vote. Thank you.

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

You're a fucking wiener.

Swoosh
Swoosh

@jonnyquest That's why you people continue to vote Republican and Democrat, for the welfare of the whole above your own?!?!?!? Republicans and Democrats alike continue to ruin this country and erode your rights!  The court system is modeled from the Brits who modeled it from the Romans!  Get real guy!  You both are nothing but pawns to the slave masters!

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

With his attitude, it IS best that he not serve. He shouldn't vote either. Both require placing the welfare of the whole above your own. He's not there yet.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Swoosh  

So do I understand correctly that you think that if there's probably not going to be a penalty, that you have no obligation to do your duty?    And further, that if few people are prosecuted, that it's not illegal?

Maybe it's best that you don't serve on a jury.

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

Got it. It's all about you. By all means, you personally should avoid serving on a jury. An innocent person might suffer because you're too important to pay attention during a trial. BTW, you've never served in the military, right?

Swoosh
Swoosh

@jonnyquest What I take more seriously is my duty of taking care of my family.  If you did not notice, 5,531 people in April did not show up and nothing happened to them for not doing so.  If you read the summons it says you MAY be fined, not you will- because they typically can't.   Not attending jury duty is technically not illegal.  The reason why 12 jurors were fined is because they waived their rights when they appeared at the Jury Office's request for failing to attend jury duty.  Once you attend any hearing, you waive your right to not acknowledge that office having any type of jurisdiction or prudence.  However, there are many ways to not attending jury duty besides not receiving the summons.  Explain how it causes a financial hardship if you attend, or simply be enrolled as a student.  Have a nice day!

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

Both are the duty and right of a citizen. Don't you take your citizenship seriously?

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