Three sentenced to jail for skipping Philly jury duty

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 Philadelphia court officials are cracking down on those who ignore summons to serve as jurors. Three scofflaws were sentenced Wednesday to a day in jail and fines for skipping jury duty.

Philadelphia court officials are cracking down on those who ignore summons to serve as jurors. Three scofflaws were sentenced Wednesday to a day in jail and fines for skipping jury duty.

People have been ducking jury duty for years in Philadelphia, but now three scofflaws have spent time behind bars as officials rolled out the first phase of a crackdown.

Too many people were regarding a jury duty summons as a mere suggestion, said Rich McSorley, deputy court administrator.

“Last year, we sent out a total of 596,477 questionnaires, and 219,000 of those didn’t even respond to us,” he said. “Out of those who did respond to us, only 13.8 percent showed up.”

So McSorley sent out officers to escort some of the worst offenders to court Wednesday.

“Our warrant unit went out that morning and arrested three people and brought them in,” he said. “Those people were taken in front of the judge and had a contempt hearing. Two of them pleaded guilty, and they were sentenced to a day in jail and given a $300 fine.”

“One person wanted to fight the case” he continued. “She was found guilty, sentenced to a day in jail and given a $400 fine.”

The crackdown is not over, McSorley warned, suggesting that if you have an outstanding summons you should resolve it before you are hauled into court.

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