Posted By Irene C. Olszewski, Esq. on June 8, 2010
You come home from a particularly grueling day at work only to find notice from the Connecticut Judicial Branch informing you that you’ve been summoned for jury duty. You’re thrilled, of course, because your desk at the office is piled high with work and the boss just told you at the morning meeting that he plans to put you in charge of the new company redevelopment project. That means plenty of over-time and a raise in pay. Now you might be able to buy that new car you’ve been eyeballing.
Re-reading the notice again, you discover that the date you are scheduled to show up at the courthouse to perform your civic duty coincides with that business trip to Arizona. The one you booked three weeks ago. The same trip during which the boss expects you to give the big presentation to the new management team.
This is most inconvenient. Whatever should you do?
You do have the right to request a postponement to another date within 10 months of the original date you were assigned. By all means, don’t skip out on jury duty. Under current law, failure to appear for jury duty is an infraction. However, effective October 1, 2010, if you fail to appear for jury duty, you will be subject to a civil penalty by a Superior Court judge.
Public Act No. 10-180 Sec. 3. reads:
Section 51-237 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2010): Each juror, duly chosen, drawn and summoned, who fails to appear shall be subject to a civil penalty, the amount of which shall be established by the judges of the Superior Court, but the court may excuse such juror from the payment thereof. If a sufficient number of the jurors summoned do not appear, or if for any cause there is not a sufficient number of jurors to make up the panel, the court may order such number of persons who qualify for jury service under section 51-217 to be summoned as may be necessary, as talesmen, and any talesman so summoned who makes default of appearance without sufficient cause shall be subject to a civil penalty, the amount of which shall be established by the judges of the Superior Court. The provisions of this section shall be enforced by the Attorney General within available appropriations.
If you’ve been summoned, you might want to review “YOUR GUIDE TO JURY DUTY: An obligation and an honor” which is published by the Connecticut Judicial Branch. The publication “Jury Service in Connecticut, What Every Juror Should Know” is available in Spanish and Polish.
If you are so inclined, I offer a brief History of Jury Duty (published on the United States District Court
Western Missouri website) for your review.