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Updated Jul 17, 2013 - 11:19 am

Maricopa County cracking down on skipped jury duty

PHOENIX -- Before you ignore that jury summons, you should know Maricopa County Superior Court is cracking down on those who bail on jury duty.

The new get-tough policy aims to improve the appearance rate of jurors who ignore their jury summonses after receiving three calls for jury duty. Maricopa County Superior Court is holding court at least four times a year where repeat violators will have to tell a judge, face to face, why they ignored the law.

"It could be very expensive if we don't have a consistent rate of return on our jurors," said Judge Janet Barton.

Maricopa County Superior Court said about 44 percent of people with jury duty assignments actually show up. The failure to appear without justification translates into thousands of dollars in losses for the court and could cause trials to be delayed.

"We summons over 800,000 jurors per year," said Maricopa County Superior Court Jury Director Candace Atkinsons. "The cost for that is between $5 and $25 per summons."

The next jury court date is scheduled for July 19. During the hearing, potential jurors who willfully disobeyed the orders of the court cound face hundreds of dollars in fines and be ordered to appear for jury duty on a specific date.

"We need jurors, they are one of the three legs of the stool, so to speak, in the justice system between the judge, the lawyers nad the justice system," said Barton.

The Maricopa County Superior Court put together a video explaining the importance of abiding jury summons. You can watch it below.

Video courtesy of Maricopa County Superior Court.

About the Author

Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.


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