Lots of people haven’t been showing up for jury duty in Wayne County, but they could soon pay a price for skipping out.
Of the 62,388 jurors called to appear in court in 2016, 22,255, or about 35 percent, failed to appear, Wayne County Circuit Court Chief Judge Robert Colombo said Tuesday.
Colombo said he will start issuing show-cause orders for absentee jurors to come to court, and explain why they couldn't serve. If they aren't excused or don't present a valid excuse, and still fail to serve, they could be fined $250 or jailed.
Those who don't show up for the show-cause hearings will have bench warrants issued for their arrest.
Colombo says jury duty isn’t as painful as many people think.
“I talked to the jurors on every case I tried when I was a trial judge, and they’d tell me that they would happily serve again,” Colombo said. “it’s usually just a matter of getting them down to the courthouse.”
Colombo admitted that many people don’t show up for jury duty because of transportation issues. He says the county will begin compensating people with bus tickets, in addition to the $25 jurors receive for showing up on the first day of duty. If required to come back an additional day, they’ll receive $40.
“Plenty of people have told me they’d love to serve, but the cost of getting to the courthouse is an obstacle. So we’re trying to fix that,” Colombo said.
Cities like Seattle and Houston have implemented similar transportation programs to help people get to the courthouse for jury duty.