The Los Angeles County Superior Court is issuing summonses for potential jurors who fail to appear, but that system doesn’t appear to be working. Last Friday, only eight people out of 152 who were notified bothered to show up for a court hearing, says the Los Angeles Times. The court is “trying hard to improve” the response rate, said the paper. Every day, 10,000 jurors are needed throughout the county’s court system; 41 percent of county residents respond when sent a jury summons and 40 percent do not. The remaining notices can’t be delivered.
Tom Munsterman of the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts, said the lack of response poses a problem for most major metropolitan areas, and outdated addresses make it worse. A judge imposed $250 fines on the 144 people who failed to attend Friday’s hearing. Last year, $86,000 in jury duty fines was collected in Los Angeles County. By California law, jurors are not paid for the first day of service. They receive $15 for each additional day and 32 cents for each mile driven to the courthouse. “We would like to see the jury duty pay raised to $40 a day, but with the state budget crisis, we haven’t been able to get it,” said state courts spokeswoman Lynn Holton.