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A sign of the times…

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A little noted article in the NY Times today shows how this economy is negatively affecting the court system:

Few people like jury duty. But for many people squeezed by the recession, a jury summons holds a new fear: financial ruin.

Judges and court officials around the country say they are seeing the impact of the recession in their courtrooms. While no one keeps overall statistics on juror excuses, those closest to the process say that in many parts of the country an increasing number of jurors are trying to get out of service, forcing courts to call an ever larger pool of jurors to meet their needs.

Ranae Johnson, the jury commissioner for Bonneville County, Idaho, said that she typically summoned 400 people for each two-week term of service, but that lately she “had to pop it up to 500” because of rising numbers of economic hardship claims. “We’re hearing it more than we used to,” Ms. Johnson said. “A lot more.”

These stories and statistics alone should give American pause to reflect on the need to upgrade financial regulations. When courts can no longer find jurors, as a result of economic hardship caused by a financial system that rewards outrageous risk, something is seriously wrong and needs to be corrected.

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Written by Valerie Curl

September 2, 2009 at 3:06 PM

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