Jury duty, revisited

What does a judge do when too few people show up for jury duty? Well, one judge sends bailiffs out into the streets to round up random passers-by and conscript them into service. Really! From the Seattle Times:

After trying the phone book and making some calls without much success, Bearden ordered Lane County sheriff’s deputies to go out on a downtown Eugene street and summon citizens to immediate jury service. . .

Bearden said the jury pool may have been smaller than normal because people who have experienced domestic violence, sex abuse and child abuse personally or in their families often declare that they are unable to sit on such a case. In any event, Bearden found herself using Oregon Revised Statute 10.235(4) for the first time since becoming presiding judge six years ago.

Jury supervisor Tana Tracewell, a 25-year court employee, said she believed that it had been 20 years or more since a Lane County judge had to order on-the-spot summonses. Bearden said she looked up the statute to make sure it was still in effect.

And another snippet, from the local news:

Sgt. Doug Osborne said the potential jurors were nice about their surprise summons but not entirely convinced it was real. “I said, really you’re not on camera, they’re looking around to see if they’re on camera and it was a joke,” he said.

(Hat tip: Marc B)

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1 Response

  1. Mark Seecof says:

    This is not just some local Oregon law. It’s an ancient common-law power of judges to impress jurors at need, by summoning a “tales de circumstandibus:” talesmen (additional jurors) from those who happen “to be standing around!”