Jury duty has always been a pain, but the tough economy is prompting more and more Americans to ditch their civic responsibility, the New York Times reports. While exact figures aren’t available, officials report that jurors increasingly cite financial worries in bids to get out of duty. “I cannot even afford the gas to have to come down there,” an Idaho resident says.
Others insist they could lose their jobs if they take time off, or that they need to search for work, and sympathetic judges have little choice but to dismiss them. But areas like Orange County, Fla., haven’t seen any decline in jury duty, despite steep hikes in unemployment. “We might actually have jurors who are looking to get the money,” an official says, referring to the modest sum jurors receive. Experts also point out that trials rarely last longer than a few days.