When citizens fail to report for jury duty, it puts a real burden on the justice system. As many as half of Americans summoned to report for jury duty fail to show up. In some places, the numbers are much higher. This can delay trials and lead to less diversity and impartiality in the justice system. It makes it harder to select a jury that is representative of the community.
A number of efforts have been made to promote jury duty. Some campaigns have been promoting jury participation as an essential civic duty. They stress to potential jurors that trials by jury are an essential part of a free and fair society. It is unclear how well this tactic is in winning over supporters.
Many people report that they fail to report for jury duty because it is too burdensome. Some districts have attempted to counter this by raising the daily monetary payouts that jurors receive. However, these still often fall far short of daily earnings through regular employment.
Some districts take a more punitive approach. Those who shirk jury duty can be fined and/or summoned to court under misdemeanor charges. Some districts have even taken to having sheriffs and bailiffs hand-deliver jury summonses rather than sending them through the mail. It is hoped that this method imbues a higher sense of importance.