Oklahoma Makes Jury Service Easier
The State of Oklahoma’s jury system has been strengethed by a new law that makes it easier for citizens to serve as jurors.
The legislation, is based on a model Jury Patriotism Act developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, individual membership group of state legislators. Oklahoma is the eighth state to enact legislation based on ALEC’s model.
Oklahoma’s new jury law will:
— Provide those summoned to jury service with the right to one automatic postponement with a simple and convenient method of rescheduling service to a more convenient time.
— Reduce the length of jury service from a two-week term with the potential to be required to serve as many as 18 days each year to no more than one day at the courthouse unless selected to serve on a jury panel.
— Protect citizens from being called repeatedly for jury service by limiting jury service to no more than once every two years.
— Fairly compensate jurors selected to serve on lengthy trials. Citizens who not fully compensated by their employers would be eligible for compensation of up to $200 per day after the tenth day of service. The additional compensation would be financed through a $10 fee paid by attorneys filing civil cases in state trial courts, and would not require an allocation of state resources.
— Provide jurors with greater employment protection. Jurors would be protected from any adverse action on account of their response to a juror summons and could not be required to use leave time in order to serve.
— Differ jury service for an employee of a small business if another employee of the same business is summoned for service during the same period.
In consideration of the additional flexibility of jury service and to ensure the most representative jury, the new law also would make it more difficult to get excused from jury service for reasons other than true hardship, and provides for a fine of up to $500 or required community service for those who ignore a juror summons.