Ditch jury service and pay a big fine

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by Crystal Cruz

azfamily.com

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 20 at 1:52 PM

PHOENIX -- Inside a Maricopa County superior courtroom Friday, 14 people explained why they ignored jury service not once, not twice, but three times.

Some people placed the blame elsewhere.
 
"I leave stuff out to remind me and my wife went along behind me and put stuff up," one man told the judge.
 
Several people said they forgot about their civic duty.
 
According to Judge Janet Barton, more than half of those called for jury service blow it off, making it tough to impanel juries, putting trials in jeopardy.
 
"Defendants have speedy trial rights if we can't impanel a jury and the defendant is up against his last day we may have no choice but to have the state dismiss those charges against the defendant," said Barton.
 
Judges are now cracking down, fining folks up to $500 for ignoring jury summons.
 
Quintton Jones walked out of court with a $100 fine.
 
"I think it's ridiculous because I really had a lot of stuff to do. I had to take care of my grandma because she doesn't have any legs," said Jones.
 
Even if you’re in a bind like Jones said he was, you still have to call the court with your excuse, something Jones failed to do.
 
Only one of the 14 people in court today walked away without a fine.
 
It’s unclear why the judge let this person go without a fee.
 
The courts fined the remaining 13 people a total of $1575.
 
In March, 12 people were fined more than $3200.

Fines are determined by household income.

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