Philly to Crack Down on Skipping Jury Duty

Philadelphia will revive scofflaw court, could put jury duty shirkers in prison for 10 days.

Of the 596,121 residents of Philadelphia summoned to jury duty last year, 78,756 actually showed up. The 13.8 percent yield has pushed Judge John Herron to bring back scofflaw court. Those who skip jury duty could get community service or jail time.

According to The Legal Intelligencer, Philadelphia eliminated scofflaw court in the early 2000s.

“It’s our feeling that this is a last-ditch effort,” Herron told the Intelligencer. “We do not feel that punishing citizens is a role that the court enjoys or wants to initiate, but when we have such rampant disregard for summonses we need to take these measures.” He says jury panels are now smaller due to the small number of people showing up for jury duty.

The yield in 2012 was 14 percent, just slightly better than 2013. Violators can get a $500 fine or 10 days in jail. Scofflaw court will meet four times a year.

[Newsworks | Legal Intelligencer]

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  • Mo

    Back when I was living in Philly in 2008, I ignored a letter about jury duty. I told my friends about it a few years later and they freaked out and said there was probably a warrant for my arrest, but nope, never got anything all these years later.

  • Sad

    It’s a sad, third world country .

  • phillysportsfan

    so would you still have to do jury duty after you get out of jail? because if i had to there’s no chance in hell the city would win that trial.

  • christine

    Since they do not send a jury summons by certified mail, how can they prove you really got one?

  • texmawby

    think of it this way…..if you are ever the victim of a crime, and that crime ends up going to court for a jury trial, you would want your day in court for justice to prevail. that being said, you would want folks like you and i to do their civic duty and be a juror to decide on your case. i just did it recently….was i excited to go, no. after it was over was i glad i went, even though i wasn’t picked and it took all day, yes.

  • matthew brandley

    This city use to be a democracy until the democraps and Nutter turned it into a communist state