Providing day care in Philadelphia courts gets support in city council committee

Pat Loeb
March 10, 2019 - 4:00 am
Jury Duty
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Could Philadelphia improve its low juror participation rate by providing day care? That was the question before a city council committee. The consensus among witnesses was, yes, it could.

Philadelphia's rate of juror participation is so low, the Courts created a committee to figure out how to improve it. 

"Sitting on a jury really does have significant financial and logistical hurdles," said Lynn Marks, who chairs the committee.

There's time off of work, transportation, parking, all for reimbursement of $9 a day. Add a lack of child care and Marks says only about 60 percent of people called for jury duty in Philadelphia show up. 

"And that is really disproportionate on younger women," Marks said.

She said it's important to have a representative cross-section of people serve on juries.

"In order to instill greater trust and confidence in the justice system," Marks said.

So a day care would be one way to assure that. Attorney Rhonda Hill Wilson testified that many Pennsylvania counties have already figured that out.

"One exists in Montgomery County and has for more than 25 years," Hill said. "One exists in Allegheny County and has since 1980. One exists in Cambria County, one exists in Monroe County, and yet we have none in Philadelphia."

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown sponsored the hearing and says she will use the information to write legislation to see that Philadelphia joins them.