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Maricopa County cracking down on skipped jury duty

PHOENIX — Before you ignore that jury summons, you should know Maricopa County Superior Court is cracking down on those who bail on jury duty.

The new get-tough policy aims to improve the appearance rate of jurors who ignore their jury summonses after receiving three calls for jury duty. Maricopa County Superior Court is holding court at least four times a year where repeat violators will have to tell a judge, face to face, why they ignored the law.

“It could be very expensive if we don’t have a consistent rate of return on our jurors,” said Judge Janet Barton.

Maricopa County Superior Court said about 44 percent of people with jury duty assignments actually show up. The failure to appear without justification translates into thousands of dollars in losses for the court and could cause trials to be delayed.

“We summons over 800,000 jurors per year,” said Maricopa County Superior Court Jury Director Candace Atkinsons. “The cost for that is between $5 and $25 per summons.”

The next jury court date is scheduled for July 19. During the hearing, potential jurors who willfully disobeyed the orders of the court cound face hundreds of dollars in fines and be ordered to appear for jury duty on a specific date.

“We need jurors, they are one of the three legs of the stool, so to speak, in the justice system between the judge, the lawyers nad the justice system,” said Barton.

The Maricopa County Superior Court put together a video explaining the importance of abiding jury summons. You can watch it below.

Video courtesy of Maricopa County Superior Court.