Maricopa Gets Tough On Jury Duty No-Shows

July 16, 2013

Don’t ignore your jury summons. That is that mantra behind the county’s new rules, which will force potential jurors who fail to respond to explain why in court. More than half of Maricopa County residents who receive jury summons fail to respond. Now, they can face fines – and still be forced to participate in jury duty. So far, 12 people have been caught and fined.

Jury director Candace Atkinson said she believes this strict approach is necessary.

“Because I think it’s a really important message to send to our citizens that they need to appear,” Atkinson said. “If the word gets out that if you don’t appear, nothing happens, then it’s just sending the wrong message.”

Atkinson says ignoring jury duty can have a big impact. It is expensive to print and mail extra summons. A jury shortage can lead to postponed or dismissed trials.

Atkinson said people who actually serve on a jury tend to stick it out and see the importance of the legal process, but before that can happen, they have got to show up.