What would it take to entice more Philly jurors to show up?

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Jury Commissioner Daniel Redine points to portion of city where 68 percent failed to return jury questionnaire as Judge Sheila Woods Skipper looks on

Jury Commissioner Daniel Redine points to portion of city where 68 percent failed to return jury questionnaire as Judge Sheila Woods Skipper looks on

A new group will brainstorm how to convince more Philadelphians to show up for jury duty. In 2016, 42 percent of those mailed a summons for jury duty in Philadelphia failed to respond.  Administrative Judge Jacqueline Allen says that puts a strain on the system.

“Too many Philadelphians are failing to respond to the notice for jury duty, or potential service for jury duty The result is low participation in a process that should be near and dear to each of them,” she said. 

Common Pleas Court President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper says figuring out ways to make jury duty more attractive is part of the group’s mission.

“Jury service is really at the heart of our trial system, it’s a way for our citizens to play a vital role in our system of justice.  Jury service is one of the highest callings of citizenship second only to military service,” Woods-Skipper said.

The former head of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, Lynn Marks has been tasked with coming up with new ways to entice people to do their civic duty.

“We need to figure out how to get people to think of this as an opportunity more than a burden of citizenship,” she said.

The Juror Participation Initiative Committee is supposed to come up with ways to make jury duty less of a chore, in hopes of boosting participation.

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