In a move that will save taxpayers money and more efficiently utilize the time of city residents, the St. Louis Circuit Court will institute an on-call system for citizens summoned for jury duty on Wednesdays, beginning May 15.
Under the new system, jurors will continue to receive summons for Wednesday service in the mail. The new summons will provide a phone number for jurors to call after 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday before their appointed service. A recorded message will inform individuals whether they need to report Wednesday morning. The recording will play through 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“We respect the time St. Louis citizens devote to jury service, and we want to minimize it where possible,” said Joanne J. Martin, jury supervisor. Similar systems are already in place in several other Missouri judicial circuits, she noted.
The court summons most people to jury duty beginning Mondays and a lesser number for service beginning Wednesdays. In recent years, the number of jury trials beginning Wednesday through Friday has declined, Martin said. In the 11 weeks so far this year, between 100 and 200 jurors reported each Wednesday, but on eight of those weeks, no jurors were sent out to trial.
If citizens are not required to come to the courthouse for jury service and they have completed the required questionnaire, their on-call status will be counted as jury duty, and they will not be called for at least three years. If they have not completed the required questionnaire, they will be made available for jury service at any time in the future.
As stated on the jury summons, citizens may complete questionnaires online through ejuror, by calling the Jury Supervisor’s Office, or by completing a paper questionnaire the office provides.
If jurors appear at the courthouse after being notified their Wednesday service is unneeded, they will not be paid.
Martin said, “The judges are working hard to determine by Tuesday afternoon whether Wednesday jury service is needed, allowing enough time that we can notify jurors. We are investigating technology to improve the notification process in the future by sending out texts, emails, and automated phone calls to immediately notify jurors of the status of their service in real time.”