Skipping jury duty becomes more of a pain than serving for some
AMITE - Nine people who skipped jury duty in Tangipahoa Parish had to pay a small fine, promise to sit on a jury this year and do a bit of community service to avoid jail time for contempt of court.
Judge Robert Morrison of the 21st Judicial District, which covers Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa Parishes is on a crusade to solve an attendance problem among people who are summoned for jury duty. The issue has been concerning, and the judge has said so few people are showing up it is compromising the integrity of the justice system.
So, in a new initiative, people who skip are forced to show up in court and explain to the judge why they should not be held in contempt of court.
At a recent hearing, most had the same excuse. Telling the judge they forgot. A few were forgiven of their absence since they never received their initial summons.
The judge handed down a punishment of a $40 fine - the cost of serving the summons for jury duty then the cost of issuing a subpoena - plus a promise to serve on a jury in six months and four hours of community service.
People in Livingston Parish who skipped jury duty are scheduled to appear in court in early May.
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