SB 1175 Modifies provisions relating to jury service
LR Number:4147S.01I Fiscal Note:4147-01
Committee:Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence
Last Action:03/02/04 - Voted Do Pass S Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Journal page:
Jurisprudence Committee
Effective Date:August 28, 2004
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Current Bill Summary

SB 1175 - This act modifies provisions relating to jury service. Qualified persons must serve as jurors unless excused (Section 494.400). Licensed attorneys are no longer disqualified from serving as a juror. Persons with mental and physical disabilities must provide the court with documentation in order to be disqualified for up to 24 months (Section 494.425). Persons who have served as juror in the past two years are excused from jury duty. Physicians, chiropractors, dentists and pharmacists are no longer excused from jury duty. Persons for whom jury duty would impose an undue or extreme physical or financial hardship are excused, provided certain conditions are met. The act defines what is meant by undue or extreme physical or financial hardship. The court is charged with making the determination. Such persons must submit documentation to the judge to support the request to be excused. After two years, such person shall become eligible again for jury duty, unless the court finds that the grounds for excuse are permanent in nature (Section 494.430). Police officers are no longer excused from jury duty (Section 494.431).

Persons scheduled for jury duty have the one time right to postpone their initial appearance, if the person agrees to a new date for jury duty within six months. Subsequent requests for postponement shall only be granted in the case of an extreme emergency (Section 494.432). A person who fails to appear for jury duty, and has not obtained a postponement, shall be in civil contempt of court. Currently, such a person would be in criminal contempt of court. Following a show cause hearing, the court shall fine the person in an amount of not more than $500 or community service, or both (Section 494.450).

The Missouri Supreme Court shall promulgate rules to establish a "Lengthy Trial Fund". The Fund shall be used to provide wage supplementation for jurors who serve more than 10 days and who receive less than their regular wages from their employer during the period of jury duty. Each trial court shall collect a fee of $20 from each attorney who files a civil case, with some exceptions for certain attorneys and causes of action. The wage supplementation is limited to a maximum of $300 per day (Section 494.455). Employers cannot require employees to use personal or sick leave for time spent responding to a summons for jury duty. A court shall automatically postpone and reschedule jury duty for an employee of a company with five or fewer employees if another employee of the company has been summoned during the same period (Section 494.460).