Squandering jurors

The Boston Globe‘s Michael Levenson and Jonathan Saltzman report that Suffolk County (which is to say Boston and some neighboring towns) will “will run out of prospective jurors by October.”

That’s strange. My wife has been to jury duty a few times, and every time she’s been sent home without actually sitting in a jury. The same has been true for virtually all of the prospective jurors she’s spent time with in the court house.

What’s behind the lack the of jurors? Dead-beat students and a shortage of Americans:

The impending crisis is the result of Boston’s high murder rate, the city’s changing demographics, and the use of more investigative grand juries to help combat a rise in gang and gun violence. All of this, officials said, is exacerbated by a high rate of residents who fail to report for jury duty.

Last year, only a quarter of those summoned showed up for jury duty in Suffolk County, a rate far below other counties. Wood blamed the high number of students in Boston, who often skip jury duty, although they could face fines up to $2,000 and criminal charges. She also cited the influx of residents who are not US citizens or do not speak English, who are exempt from service.

(Although I must say I don’t think a college student has any business sitting on a jury.)