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January 18, 2009

Poor pay for jury duty

Boy, did Mike Hendricks’ article on the Jackson County jury system strike a nerve (1/12, Local, “Crime does not pay — nor does jury duty”). This is a wasteful and poorly managed system.

Potential jurists must take off work and pay their own parking, travel and meal expenses to “serve.” The jurists are herded in a room of 200 or more and made to wait, and wait and wait. There may not be any selected from the pool, or at best, only a few. And try to reschedule for a time that could work for you and your employer? Forget it. There is not much compassion in that room in the court house.

As far as the $6 compensation for the day and 7 cents a mile, why bother? What are the attorneys making being paid to be there?

I hope Jon Nixon has success with his petition (e-mail mo.jury.fee@gmail.com). The system needs a total overhaul. There must be a better way. Some government someplace in the world has figured it out. All we have to do is find it and copy it.

Pat Carr
Kansas City

Comments

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Just tell them what I tell them, that you are biased and have a flatulence problem.
Remeber, the prosecutor and judge are on the same team. Paid for by the State for the State or Feds more often than not. Well, unless you are pedophile, then you get appointed oversight of the House Financial Services Committe in Congress.

TinaMcG

I'm guessing this is the first time the letter writer had jury duty. That's how it is done just about everywhere. But everything is relative, and she should be thankful she wasn't summoned in Cook County,IL. They got me every year for ten years. If I got out of it, I was summoned again a month later, so in reality, there really is no getting out of it, and Simon -- that "post office ate my jury summons" excuse doesn't fly. I escaped jury duty in Cook County by moving to Kansas. Otherwise, they would still be dogging me.

Imagine sitting in a huge crowded room, looking out a wall of windows at the Sears Tower and the southern face of the Chicago skyline. It's a picture postcard view, but when it's a week after the 9-11 attacks and you're still numb and wondering if Chicago will be hit next, it's really unsettling. You pray your number won't be called and at the end of the day, you can just get the hell out of there.

No such luck. Your number is called and you're herded into a tiny courtroom where a judge asks your name, where you live, your occupation, your history as a crime victim, and then wants to know if you can be impartial in this triple gang murder case.

Uhhh, not hardly. If my name, address and phone number are public record and the defendant's relatives and gang brothers can access that information, impartiality would be a stretch for me. That is my big beef with the jury system. Free parking and $14 a day doesn't make up for that.

So count your blessings. It can't be nearly as bad in the KC Metro as it is in Chicago, NYC or Los Angeles.

Proud American

Stop and think.....It is fairly easy to get out of jury duty. If in trouble, do you really want your peers on the jury...You know the ones who aren't smart enough to get out of it. And that is why the entire system needs to be revamped.

ChotoCK

I agree about the parking deal, but other than that...

I have a feeling Pat's opinion would change were he/she in need of a jury.

solomon

The key is to never open a Jury duty summons and blame it in the Post Office.

 
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