Why Not Blow Off Jury Duty?

I don't know about your jurisdiction, but here in San Antonio, it's really not smart to blow off jury duty. Just ask Liz Chavarria, who didn't show up for the first day of trial after she was picked as a juror for a criminal case.

Yep, everyone had to set around and wait on her that day: the judge, the clerks, the court reporter, the attorneys, the witnesses, the defendant, the bailiff, and the 11 jurors who did show up.

So, Judge Vasquez-Gardner ordered her to over 100 hours of community service - in the Central Jury Room, where everyone who's called for jury duty sits around, waiting to be called for a panel - but no fine, because the Judge figured that Liz's parent would end up paying it. Liz also has to write 14 letters of apology: one to each juror (including Liz's alternate, who replaced her) and one to each of the attorneys (prosecutor and defense counsel).

Me? Cool Judge, I particularly like the letters of apology, and Liz is lucky she didn't get jail time. Other judges here simply send out the Bexar County Sheriff to arrest those who fail to show up - they are in contempt of court - and let them spend some time in the local jail.

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