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posted: 2/25/2013 5:00 AM

Citizens must make jury duty a priority

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According to a recent article in the Daily Herald ("Chicago mayor called to jury duty, then dismissed"), Mayor Rahm Emanuel showed up for jury duty and was subsequently dismissed. No one realistically expected the mayor to be compelled to serve, but at least he showed up and did his civic duty. The example he set is one everyone should follow. Yes, jury duty is an inconvenience, but it is one of the most important duties we have as citizens.

Sadly, too many people disregard jury duty and look for ways to get out of it. Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch has long been advocating reforms to increase jury participation, but the Illinois General Assembly continues to ignore the need for meaningful jury reforms. We need to do a better job of incentivizing jury service, but until we get there, the example Mayor Emanuel set serves as a reminder that jury service is a duty of all citizens -- even mayors. According to news reports, the mayor even watched a film called "How to Be a Juror" while waiting to called.

If showing up to serve for jury duty is a priority for the mayor of the third-largest city in the country, shouldn't it be a priority for us all?

Travis Akin

Executive director

Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch

Marion

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