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Jury duty complaints: A rebuttal to a letter

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The process of getting arrested for failure to appear for jury service is not simply a matter of missing jury duty and then getting arrested as a result.

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The juror is first required to appear for jury service. Failing to appear will result in a written request that the individual show cause for the absence.

If the person fails to follow the instructions, a state trooper will personally deliver another letter, asking for the individual to appear at a second hearing.

If the juror fails to appear a third time, the court can serve another letter to the juror or have a bench warrant issued for his or her arrest.

If there were no consequences for disregarding jury duty, less people would serve. While this may seem a bit "over the top" it's part of the rights and privileges of United States citizens. If you find yourself in need of a jury of your fellow citizens, and you realize there aren't enough people to get an unbiased jury, I have no doubt you will be frustrated. By not appearing as a juror you will have wasted the court's time, the lawyer's time, and most importantly the time of your fellow citizens who recognized their responsibility. If Juneau were able to operate differently, they would.

Anchorage jurors show up for five full days in a row, and they are done serving for a minimum of two years. This is appealing but the differences between Juneau and Anchorage are pretty easy to see. Their population and case load are much greater. This means they have enough need for full time jurors, and enough population to support that style. If we were more populous we would probably have a need for it and could support it too. It's very easy to complain about something without a solution. When you have a better idea, by all means suggest it. If some of you are still distraught over serving there is a simple solution. If you stop applying for your Alaska Permanent Fund dividend your name will no longer appear on the juror list. It requires no effort on your part at all.

We all know jury duty pays pretty much nothing, and yes it is difficult to remember to call in. But being an adult is all about responsibilities and beyond jury duty being your privilege and right; it is also your civic duty, which you may have to call upon some day.

Bernard Smith

Juneau



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