Missing jury duty could cost more in South DakotaThe current penalty is $5 to $50. The new penalty would be a minimum of $50, up to as much as $500.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — Is the penalty for skipping jury duty in South Dakota really being increased tenfold?
Indeed, the state Senate decided 29-4 Thursday to adopt Chief Justice David Gilbertson’s recommendation.
The current penalty is $5 to $50. The new penalty would be a minimum of $50, up to as much as $500.
HB 1070 is now on its way to the governor for his decision whether to sign it into law.
“Five hundred seems harsh because they forgot jury duty,” Sen. Larry Lucas, D-Mission, said.
Added Sen. Jim Bradford, D-Pine Ridge: “What is willfully? Some of us old people forget.”
The penalty would apply if a person fails, refuses or neglects to appear for jury duty or doesn’t fill out and return the jury questionnaire.
The penalty also would apply if a person, after having appeared for duty, didn’t return without good cause.
The big fine isn’t automatic. Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City, said the judge will still have the discretion to decide how large the fine should be.
Tieszen said the potential of a large fine makes less likely that some people will simply buy their ways out of serving on juries.