Texans simply not showing up for Jury Duty

Published: Jul. 11, 2014 at 2:32 AM CDT
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Spending a day participating in Jury Duty usually isn't something many people hope for. As a result, when summoned, new reports show a high number of people are simply not showing up.

In fact, new reports show it's a common issue that now has the state looking into a widespread problem. Results show as many as 80% of people summoned for jury duty fail to show up.

It's something Randall County District Clerk Jo Carter says she has seen for a while.

"We send out three times as many as we need. If we need 100 people that day we will mail at least 300 summons to make sure we have enough jurors here," she told us.

But compared to the rest of the state, Carter says Randall County has a decent participation rate.

"We probably have, in Randall County, a higher rate of return than the average county in Texas," she said.

With around 30% of those people actually showing up, Randall county stands out. Especially when looking at the rates in Montgomery County and Harris County where results show only 14% and 26% respectively report for duty.

While the reason may be unknown as to why participation is so low, Carter says there are some obvious obstacles.

"I think people move and don't change their address with DPS until they have to renew their license and some people just simply forget," she explained.

And until a stricter punishment is put in place, low participation rates are expected to continue. But before you throw that summons away, here's one thing to consider...

"One day it could be them that needs a jury trial where they want jurors of their peers to listen to what's going on in their life to make a decision. I think it's our patriotic duty to serve on jury duty," Carter said.

If you are summoned and don't show up, you can technically be issued a fine ranging from $100 to $1,000.Many courts are also considering a more electronic based summons system, which they hope will make it easier to get in touch with residents.

Colleen Nelson