April 8, 2016
ISSUE | JURY DUTY A civic responsibility If only 14 percent of Philadelphia residents summoned to jury duty show up, it's past time for the Inquirer to run a series about all the privileges of being an American ("Seeking new way to get jurors," Monday). Jury duty is not supposed to be - never has been - cushy, convenient, remunerative, or entertaining. It's an obligation of all legal residents, who should be proud to serve. |Bruce M. Brown, Bryn Mawr
April 5, 2016 |
It hasn't even been two years since the Philadelphia Courts reinstituted a crackdown on jury no-shows and it's already back to the drawing board. Juror Scofflaw Court - designed to make an example of people who ignored their summons to jury duty by bringing them into court anyway - is no longer being used because it's just too costly to run and there aren't enough resources, said Jury Commissioner Daniel Rendine. "It was unfortunate, but we gave it a shot, but it didn't bode well for the long run," he said.
June 6, 2014 |
They're from different parts of the city and had nothing in common - except for their predawn Wednesday wake-up call: court warrant officers arresting them for failing to appear for jury duty. Actually, it was more than that. Not only did they ignore at least two calls for jury duty, they ignored a summons telling them to appear in court May 21 or be held in contempt. Yes, we're talking about scofflaws in Philadelphia's new Juror Scofflaw Court. Two of the three - Timothy Shissler, 42, of Frankford, and John Sparks, 56, of Brewerytown - pleaded guilty before unsmiling Common Pleas Court Judges John W. Herron and Jeffrey P. Minehart.
May 23, 2014 |
In criminal justice jargon, they were recidivists: People who have dodged jury duty two, three, four times. On Wednesday, 60 of them packed Courtroom 505 of the city's Criminal Justice Center after Common Pleas Court Administrative Judge John W. Herron made them an offer they couldn't refuse: Show up or be arrested. Welcome to Philadelphia's Juror Scofflaw Court, Herron's revival of a program he launched in 2000, when only one in five people summoned for jury duty ever showed. Herron might be happier today with that earlier level of participation.
May 23, 2014 |
FOR THE first time in more than a decade, people who failed to show up for jury duty in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court were summoned to the Criminal Justice Center to explain themselves. And explain they did, over several hours in front of Common Pleas Administrative Judge John Herron, who convened the city's first juror-scofflaw court in 2000. "The failure-to-appear rate has accelerated to an unacceptable level," Herron said in a soft but authoritative voice to the 59 Philadelphians who packed the courtroom.
March 17, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA Last year, nearly 600,000 Philadelphians were summoned for jury duty. More than a third never responded. Beginning this spring, those who dodge jury duty could get a new kind of summons: to Scofflaw Court, where they could be held in contempt of court, fined as much as $500, and sentenced to up to 10 days in jail. "It's just not fair," said Philadelphia jury commissioner Daniel A. Rendine. "One of our goals is to provide a fair cross-section of jurors. If 37 percent are ignoring us, that means that 63 percent of the people are doing 100 percent of the work.
July 22, 2013 |
Courtesy tends to be contagious, Peggy Post writes in the introduction of Emily Post's Etiquette . She's correct. Good manners and civility tend to breed better behavior from those on the receiving end. In my travels around the region, I have found some places where treating people well translates into a satisfying experience for all. And the nice thing about good manners is that they don't cost anything and they can reap big benefits....
April 14, 2013 |
When I received the summons for jury duty, I didn't know what to expect. Turns out, jury duty is a lot like high school. While our instructor was taking attendance, I felt like I was back in homeroom. Everyone was sleepy, grumpy, and seated in a collective slump. There were posters on the wall picturing a perfectly diverse group of smiling people, only instead of "Knowledge Is Power," it had fine print about doing your civic duty. I don't know how much motivation you need to do something that's compulsory.
December 20, 2012
IT'S NOT LIKE I was expecting a ticker-tape parade or something in my first week. But a summons for jury duty? My first ever - and only four days after starting this new gig? What are you trying to do, Philly, get a girl fired? Luckily my editors, who aren't all that attached yet, were cool. Maybe I'd get a column out of it, one grumbled. Hey, I was game. I'm open to whatever Philly has. An invite to hang with longshoremen? There. A growing list of people "you just gotta meet.
August 9, 2012 |
Hello there On a March morning in 2010, Monica unenthusiastically appeared at the Delaware County Courthouse, prepared to serve as a juror, if she had to. When she moved to a courtroom for jury selection, she noticed a familiar-looking sheriff's deputy. Could that be Vince, her high school sweetheart? All of a sudden, she was hoping to be chosen, just to satisfy her curiosity. Monica and Vince had been an item in 1997, when she was a junior and he a sophomore at Upper Darby High.