A delinquent juror is defined in Massachusetts law as:
A person who fails to appear for juror service, or fails to perform or complete any part of their juror service.
Requirements for Conviction
In order to secure a conviction, the court will need to prove that the juror failed to report and perform the services required of them by the jury summons.
The court may issue a warrant for the arrest of the juror or may take other actions that are likely to compel the juror to appear before the court. Any grand or trial juror who does not appear for juror service or who fails to perform any condition of juror service is charged with a crime, and upon conviction, may be punished by a fine of up to two thousand dollars. More importantly, you can have a permanent mark on your criminal record if convicted.
There may be a number of ways to challenge the prosecution, such as their burden to prove that you actually received the summons. Alternatively, if you have a “justifiable excuse,” we may be able to get the case dismissed. Every case is different, and these are just two of the most often-used defenses in Juror Fail to Attend cases. If you are facing a charge of Juror Fail to Attend, we can help. Call us at 781-797-0555 for a free telephone consultation today.
Further Facts & Considerations
Not reporting for a jury summons, also known as “jury dodging”, is a much more serious action than people may realize, especially in Massachusetts. As the Boston Globe reports, “Unlike other states, Massachusetts is taking a particularly aggressive approach to tracking down people who fail to report for jury duty, legal specialists and state officials say. When a prospective juror fails to show up, the Delinquent Juror Prosecution Program issues a series of warnings, which, if ignored, culminate in an order to arrive in court, not as a juror but as a defendant in a criminal case. Faced with that choice, all but a few comply.
In 1999, for example, a Boston investment adviser was charged with being in contempt of court and fined $2,000 for skipping out on the second day of a three-day civil trial; the adviser lied to a court official about being home sick, when in fact he had traveled to New Jersey.
A year later, a worker at a Wareham gas station was handcuffed after a routine traffic stop revealed that a warrant had been issued for his arrest for failing to appear for jury duty.”
Massachusetts believes that this aggressive approach will ensure that juries adequately reflect the population’s diversity, which is important to conduct a fair trial.