Jury Summons

Jury Summons

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Juror Parking

According to a report done by the Texas Judicial Council’s Subcommittee on Juries in 2000 84% of surveyed individuals said the reimbursed parking would encourage activity with the jury system, the most picked answer. In one of the easiest ways to take care of the jurors that keep our court system afloat, the state has failed. Texas expects its jurors to miss work, find their own way to come to a courthouse that they may have never been to before, find a spot to park their car at that courthouse, sit around for up to a day just to find out if their service is needed, pay for their own lunch, might have to find a babysitter for their kids, and do all of this for the “opportunity” to reign judgment on a man’s life. At the end of the day they are paid 6 – 20 bucks a day for a job they never wanted and, in some cases, a job that will haunt them for a long time. At the very least, the courts can give them a guaranteed place to park.

To park a tenth of a mile from the Travis County Courthouse it will cost you twenty dollars to park at the Crowley Courthouse in Dallas County it will put you back three dollars,with a voucher, and that’s only if you are lucky enough to get a parking spot  in their garage in which there are limited parking spots. If you decide to take public transportation in, as is recommended by both counties, you are looking at losing even extra time if you are not picked. If you are let go early, you have to take the public transportation back to your car to get on with your day. However, the Dallas County Courts give you a voucher for the first day, after that it’s all on you.
The courts know that they do not have to do any more than this because it is your legal obligation to show up for jury duty.  Instead of rewarding those who show up, they are relatively punished, while those who skip usually slip through the fingers of the law. The inability to give the people that do their legal duty any kind of step up over those who do not is very common.  In a rare case a potential juror will be chased down and forced to show up to jury duty but that is the rare case, however it is widely publicized when this actually happens. Like this man who skipped jury duty for months, or this Texas teacher who skipped jury duty for a former student's banquet. 

As previously discussed, the overall loss of income by coming to jury duty can be extreme, the average being over $120 a day.The loss of income should be enough, there should not be additional stress.
The court systems need to make some changes to the way they treat jurors, these will not be cheap but they are necessary. At the very least there needs to be a way to park at no cost to the juror. Many of the issues would seem minute if actually getting to jury service was without stress or additional complication. As Woody Allen said “80% of life is showing up” that part should be the easiest when it comes to doing a thankless task required by law.

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