Thinking of skipping jury duty? It may cost you - KOTA Territory News

Thinking of skipping jury duty? It may cost you


Nothing clears your schedule quite like a jury duty notice.
"I know a lot of [prospective jurors] were very nervous and scared. It makes people uncomfortable because they don't know how to expect," said Williamson, who was recently in a jury pool for a four day child abuse trial in Pennington County.

After more than 30 years on the bench, 7th Circuit Presiding Judge Jeff Davis knows what trouble absent jurors can cause the court.

"It's expensive to call a jury panel in. They receive $10 a day to just show up. it's not a lot of money, but when you bring in 80 people, it's $800. If you couldn't pick the jury today, the matter would have to be continued, so it does have a detrimental effect on the system," said Davis.

Now, a bill in the legislature promises stricter enforcement of your civic duty.
House bill 1070 would fine those who skip their jury duty between $50 to $500 dollars. A second infraction,and you can also be sentenced to 10 days in the county jail.

"I'd hate to think it would come to that to encourage people to participate with the rights we have in the US. Some people would be willing to pay the fine and not come too," said Williamson.
"In my experience, if you have someone who's taking extra measures not to come to jury service, you generally don't want them to hear the case anyway," said Davis.
While the bill may be aimed at a few scofflaw, many we spoke to were eager to serve.
"I know people who have been on a jury. There are people who enjoy it.  I have just never heard of a shortage of people willing to show up for jury duty," said Quincy Weiler.
"I hope I get called again when I'm retired. it's important, but I'm not sure we need a law to enforce that. Hopefully people will do it as part of their civic duties," said Williamson.

House Bill 1070 passed the house of representatives Tuesday with a vote of 64 to 2.

In South Dakota, prospective jurors are selected from drivers license and voter registration pools.

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