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Recession Hits the Jury Pool
Readers of our page have seen numerous posts on the effect the recession has had on the court system around the country. Cutbacks, furlough days, layoffs, and other cost cutting mechanisms have hit courthouses, DA’s offices and public defenders, impacting both the speed and the quality of the justice being served. But an article in yesterday’s LA Times highlights another problem – juries.
Jurors in Los Angeles are paid a stipend of $15 per day and according the LAT, a much larger percentage of them are applying for hardship exemptions in the current economic climate. For a sole wage earner or someone who is self employed, the loss of a few days work can be frightening. Some judges are reporting hardship dismissal rates of 60%, and that’s counting only the diminishing percentage of jurors that respond to the summons at all. Jurors that are denied an exemption have become hostile, causing both sides in a recent case to waive jury trial after three days of jury selection produced a volatile and unpredictable panel.