A recent story from Missouri reported that jurors could, for a time, pay their way out of jury duty for $50, plus a promise of 6 hours community service. (Really? You’d rather pick up trash on the interstate for half a day than sit at the courthouse for a day or two, doing crosswords or catching up on email?) The story doesn’t say how many folks took the offer, but it did happen–and an appeals court has nixed the practice.
Anyone so inclined is invited to dig to look for the first reluctant juror in the modern era of the jury. What are the historical origins of reluctance to serve? Was it always so? Our own research on the subject shows that even reluctant jurors often have a very positive experience and are inspired to get more involved in politics and community life.