We went to jury duty just last week, and, after sitting in the voir dire room for nearly two hours, were immediately dismissed once our lawyer-ness was revealed.
We cannot really say anyone seemed like they were dying to be selected to serve (particularly not the woman who slept through the entire thing), but The New York Post has an article today that says differently.
NYP: “People are calling up, saying, ‘Look, I lost my job; now would be a good time for me to serve,’ ” said Vincent Homenick, chief clerk of the jury division for Manhattan. “Not that $40 will pay the bills, but it’s something.”
Homenick said he has gotten about 20 calls since May from folks asking if they could become jurors — far more than normal.
Obviously 20 people is not exaclty a groundswell. But at least one woman offered to be part of a jury of her peers in Brooklyn federal court last week. It’s the first time one clerk had ever heard of it happening, according to the article. Federal court, unfortunately, does not accept volunteers.
The judge also noted that the jury pools are more diverse right now – lots of ex-Wall Streeters and executives are finding themselves with a little more time on their hands as of late. Of course there should not be any increase in these folks being called, but we guess they are just spending less time trying to get out of it.
As the chief clerk notes, jurors in New York state are paid $40 per day, with as much as a $6 raise if jury service goes beyond a month. So, if you are one of those making up the double-digit unemployment rate, then $40 is $40.
Even if it is only 20 people, calling up and volunteering for jury duty definitely feels like a sign of the times.
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