Last week, in a televised interview with Palm Beach County Clerk of the Court Sharon Bock, she admitted that 50 percent of those subpoenaed for jury duty don’t show up with no repercussions or consequences! Had I been the interviewer (who did a great job), I would have asked her, “Why don’t you pursue those who don’t respond to the summons?”
Most likely, she would have said they don’t have the money or resources to carry out the law and do their jobs as mandated. Therefore, the burden to pay falls unfairly upon the conscientious half who do show up!
In a one-man protest on the steps of the court house this week, I polled the individuals appearing for jury duty. Most said that they had been summoned repeatedly. Personally, I’ve been called once every 2.3 years over the past seven years. Most people reported the same statistics, with one woman claiming she had been called to serve 10 times in the past 15 years!
While Ms. Bock claims it’s a random process, the statistics seem to indicate otherwise. I’ve spoken to many individuals who profess that they’ve never been called for duty. Try it yourself! Ask your family or friends and associates how many times they’ve been summoned for jury duty
For years, I mistakenly thought that the jury pool was taken from voter registration lists, only to find that it’s tied to DMV records. What if non-responders were fined the “threatened” $100 and had it attached to their license or tag renewal? This seems like an easy process for generation of revenue, increasing the number of responders and relieving the unfair burden placed upon the conscientious who actually exercise their constitutional responsibility!
I thoroughly believe in a citizen’s responsibility to serve as a juror. However, I feel the system is unfairly populated, and there is no penalty for non-responders. While they excuse those who are active in law enforcement, more consideration should be given to individuals in medical and lifesaving jobs.
If you believe there are inequities in the current jury summons process, I urge you to contact Clerk of the Court Sharon Bock or your media outlets.
Dr. Laurence Grayhills, Wellington