Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- You might groan when you see a jury summons show up in your mailbox, but area courts are now trying to make it less of an inconvenience for you.
Effective now, in a six county area, including Onondaga and Oswego, the time period of your exempt-for-service has been extended from eight to 10 years if you’ve been called to appear for jury service or have previously served as a juror.
So what if you get a summons, but are never called to the courthouse? That’s a different shorter time to be back in the pool. The new rule applies to anyone who reports for at least one day of service, whether you actually get into a jury box or not.
"What it really does is churn the jury pool. It removes those individuals who might say, ‘Look, I served before. How many times you going to call me?’ They're not going to be around, so it gives other individuals an opportunity to meet their citizenship responsibilities,” said Onondaga County Commissioner of Jurors, Fifth District Jury Coordinator, Sid Oglesby.
Onondaga County was first to experiment with an eight year exemption period in 2007. It spread district wide and now the entire district will be first to extend it to service once a decade, mostly for convenience of citizens. They’re able to do this through better management of the jury pool and panel sizes and a more efficient system on the judge’s side.
“If a settlement is reached we put a settlement on the record, so we don’t need to waste those jurors,” said Onondaga County Jury Board Chair, Judge Tony Paris.
They also say by extending that ineligibility period from eight to 10 years, it will save taxpayers money and help out employers as well.
"So each time you call someone who is employed based on the rules they may have to pay, so the less frequently you call them the less [employers] have to pay,” Oglesby said.
Oglesby says it’s been an evolving process that’s seen exemption time jump from four years to 10 years since 2004. It looks like that’s probably where things are going to level off, but still change for the better.
The new rule is now in effect for Onondaga, Oswego, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and Herkimer counties.