U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts of Detroit held two prospective jurors in contempt this week and ordered them to serve 100 hours of community service after they ignored a jury summons and then an order to appear in court to explain why they didn’t show. The Detroit News says that federal marshals yesterday arrested Carrie Christiani, 30, and held her in a lock-up for much of the day. She will be required to perform the community service – likely with the American Red Cross. Said the judge: “The constitutional right to a jury of one’s peers – and peers are people such as yourselves – cannot be upheld if the ‘peers’ don’t appear.”
Each year, thousands of prospective jurors fail to appear in Detroit as required – and more fail to fill out jury questionnaires . “The no-show rate is pretty horrible,” said David J. Weaver, the court administrator, adding that the rate is comparable to other large courts. “We need jurors to function as a court.” This year, about 10,400 have been called for jury service, and about 25 percent failed to show.