Sonora, CA– Tuolumne County Superior Court has introduced a new program to increase the pool of potential jurors.
The program consists of contacting residents who have failed to respond to their jury summons and encouraging them to fulfill their obligations as citizens. Starting today, the court will send a postcard to citizens who have failed to appear for jury service and instruct them to schedule a new time to serve or face possible penalties.
According to Jury Commissioner and Court Executive Officer, Jeanne Caughell, California has made jury service much easier in recent years with the one-day or one-trial program. Still, an estimated 20 percent of citizens statewide do not respond to their jury summons, making it difficult for the courts to provide enough jurors for all trials.
Last year in Tuolumne County nearly 60 percent of residents who were called in to serve, failed to appear or respond to their jury summons.
“We want to hear from them basically, that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Caughell. “We want to get more citizens to report for jury service and not be such a huge burden on the citizens who do show up.” Many times citizens are being called more than one time a year because our jury pool is so small.”
Under the court’s program, citizens who fail to appear for jury service may be held in contempt of court, which is punishable by a fine and/or incarceration. The court may also impose reasonable monetary sanctions in lieu of a finding of contempt.