FAILURE TO APPEAR
FOR JUROR SERVICE
The Delinquent Juror Prosecution Program
INTRODUCTION: As a result of the limited term jurors are expected to serve, the Office of Jury Commissioner (OJC) was required to increase the number of jurors summonsed from within each judicial district in order to meet the needs of the juror requirements of each courthouse. The OJC, in an effort to achieve a higher juror yield and maintain a diverse jury pool, implemented the Delinquent Juror Prosecution Program to prosecute those jurors who unlawfully: fail to respond to a jury summons; respond to the summons but then fail to appear at the courthouse as scheduled, or; fail to fully complete juror service. The procedural aspects of this Program were established by the JMAC in 1996 to ensure compliance with due process and statutory requirements. The consistent, persistent, yet gentle enforcement of this law is undertaken in order to ensure that all prospective jurors fulfill their duty and obligation under the law. This program is gradually expanding to include all of the judicial districts. The Legal Department of the OJC is responsible for initiating the prosecution of delinquent jurors and employers who fail to pay an employee-juror for the first three days of service, or harass an employee-juror.
In the section below entitled "Statistics," the top pie chart reflects the 24,446 delinquent juror notices issued by the OJC from December 4, 1996 through February 17, 1999, and the current status of each. The second pie chart reflects the percentage of delinquencies that are resolved at each step of the process.
Please note that under the current system no exemptions
exist; every citizen must perform juror service if called. However, a juror may be
disqualified under the law from performing juror service.
Click here for more information regarding juror qualifications.
Click on a Box Below to View Specific Information
About the Program
DEFINITION OF A DELINQUENT JUROR IF YOU HAVE RECIEVED AN "APPLICATION FOR CRIMINAL COMPLAINT" IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A "FAILURE TO APPEAR" POSTCARD STEPS TAKEN IN PURSUING DELINQUENT JURORS IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A "NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY" LETTER STATISTICS
DEFINITION of a DELINQUENT JUROR:
- one who unlawfully fails to respond to a summons for juror service;
- one who responds to the summons, but fails to appear as scheduled, or;
- one who appears as scheduled, but leaves the courthouse before being dismissed.
THE PROCESS: The following is a chronological table of the steps taken in pursuing delinquent jurors:
TIME LINE ACTION TAKEN On or after 30 days from the date the juror failed to appear as scheduled, or appeared and left without being dismissed: a letter entitled "DELINQUENCY NOTICE: Failure to Appear for Juror Service" is sent via first-class mail to the juror. The juror has 30 days from the letter's issuance to explain his/her absence and reschedule another appearance date, or provide evidence in support of a request for disqualification from juror service, as they were instructed to do when they were summonsed. On or after 30 days from the "DELINQUENCY NOTICE" being mailed, and the juror has not been removed from delinquency status: the OJC Legal Counsel will seek the issuance of a Criminal Complaint. The allegedly delinquent juror is notified via first-class mail to appear for a show cause hearing. Until the date of that hearing, the juror may serve or provide evidence in support of a request for disqualification from juror service. On or after two and one half weeks of the issuance of the notice for the show cause hearing, and the juror has not been removed from delinquency status: the show cause hearing is held at the appropriate court of competent jurisdiction. At said hearing, the juror is given further opportunity to fulfill his/her obligation, or provide evidence of disqualification. The juror is granted a continuance of a limited number of days to allow this to occur. If the service is performed, the Application for Criminal Complaint is withdrawn. If the juror fails to appear or the continuance expires without the juror having served: the Clerk Magistrate issues the Criminal Complaint and the juror will be summonsed for arraignment before the court. If the juror appears in response to the summons, the court will usually: (1) accept evidence of disqualification; (2) allow the juror to serve and present evidence of completion of service within a specific time, or; (3) accept a plea of not guilty and schedule the case for a pretrial conference. The juror fails to appear in court in response to the arraignment summons: a warrant for the arrest of the juror is issued. Upon conviction, a fine of not more than $2,000, a term of community service and/or court costs may be imposed by the court.
Back to Top of Page
Trial Juror Service Grand Juror Service Federal
Juror Service Navigational Map of this
Courthouse Information About the Massachusetts Jury System The Source List
Summonsing to Service Delinquent Juror Prosecution Program Public Outreach Program
Related Materials Related Links Frequently Asked Questions Go Back to the Home Page