LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — It’s a civic obligation that many consider an inconvenience: jury duty.
Judges and a district attorney in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, said this week that they’re working on better ways to get citizens to show up to the State Court in Lake Charles, KPLC-TV reported.
When about 350 people were summoned for jury duty last week, only 72 turned up at the courthouse, Judge Robert Wyatt said.
“In the last few years the number of those showing up for jury service has been declining,” Wyatt said. “Unfortunately, last Monday, I would say it hit a critical number.”
Some potential jurors can be excused for legitimate reasons. But, Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier said the recent decline has been disappointing.
“I’m certain if they were charged with criminal activity, they would like to think that there are reasonable, logical, rational Americans who will be there to judge their cases when their time comes,” he said.
The court may look into limiting excused absences and changing the way it subpoenas people, Wyatt said. He said there could be contempt issues for those who fail to appear.