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Seating juries in a recession

There’s a recession angle for every story, it seems. The features I find for our Web site lately are overwhelmingly about another way the recession has negatively impacted people.

Here’s another impact, one that might be causing headaches for trial lawyers and judges out there: supposedly it’s getting harder to find jurors, especially for trials longer than one day.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel says that the number of jurors asking to be excused “because of economic pressures” is increasing across the nation. Understandably, people are worried that extended time away from work could cost them their jobs.

Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld told the paper, “They feel very insecure about their job status and there are those who say, “So many people have been laid off where I work, they can’t do without me.”

Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute points out that civic duty doesn’t pay very well, either – sometimes lower than $10 a day. If the potential juror is not a salaried employee, being seated on a lengthy trial could result in a significant income loss.

Have you seen this happening in area courts?