For every day court is in session, Baltimore Circuit Court officials summon 800 residents to fill the jury pool for trials.
If they’re lucky, maybe 230 of them will appear.
Some people contact court officials beforehand, asking that their jury service be postponed for a variety of reasons. But hundreds of people each day ignore their summonses – along with a seldom-enforced printed warning on the document: Your failure to appear could subject you to a fine or imprisonment.
And the problem of no-show jurors – the latest to afflict Baltimore’s beleaguered courts – is getting worse, reports the city’s Sun.
“There is a lot of apathy there,” said Baltimore Jury Commissioner Marilyn L. Tokarski. “More people are ignoring the summons.”
Nationally, poor juror turnout has reached a “crisis level,” according to the Washington-based American Legislative Exchange Council, an information clearinghouse. Jurors avoid service whenever they can – and even when they can’t, according to the council.