Jury Duty: A Call to Service (DC and others)


Regular Jury Service for DC Residents

I was summoned for (Petit) Jury Duty yesterday and went to the Moultrie DC Courthouse for my service (one day or one trial).  As a DC resident, I should expect to receive this notice every 24 months. One of my fellow jurors made mention of the shortness of the time (less than two months) between moving to the district

Logos of DC Courts

Logos of DC Courts

from Detroit, MI and receiving her summons.  When told (by fellow jurors) about the frequency of “recall”, she was less than thrilled.  She hadn’t been a juror in Michigan (ever!) and was nearing her sixth decade.  The DC Courts create (and maintain) a master listing for a juror pool, which combines the roster of voters, individuals issued either a driver’s license or non-driver’s identification card, individuals filing personal income tax forms, public assistance beneficiaries, naturalized citizen lists, and other information sources.

Comfort-wise, apart from the courthouse being in “fry” mode (AC not working well), large floor fans and free water distributed air and hydration.  Charging stations provided a plethora of options (Apple 30-pin cables, lightening connectors, mini 5 pin USB, USB outlets, etc. for power.  A (new to me; different from last time) orientation film informed us about juror service, including the assertion that everyone (from judges, lawyers, staff) is eligible, summoned and may be selected.  In between roster calls (last name/last three digits of summons) to different court rooms, jurors could watch/read the closed captioned CNN projected on several TV screens or their individual electronic devices (laptop, e-book reader or cell phone).  Also, there were smaller lounges (business and snack) to make the wait less onerous.  Even better, the snack lounge’s prices were reasonable: $1.35/20 oz. soda, $1.00/Doritos snack size.  However, one of the machines decided that it would only accept cash, despite the credit card reader!  Jurors receive a payment of $4 for transportation, which from the amount, suggests that they are either ONLY taking Metrobus or personally subsidizing the difference if using Metrorail or personal car.

Less Frequent Jury Service for MD/VA

Having grown up in Prince George’s County, MD and being eligible for jury service over twenty years without ever receiving a summons (and having a similarly eligible parent who also was never called), I feel confident in asserting that service in surrounding jurisdictions is far less frequent.  Working in Virginia, most of my co-workers (MD/VA residents) have not been summoned to their local court house.

Ramona Winkelbauer is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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