To the editor:
In your May 13 article "A Jury of Whose Peers?" you point out that many low-income people do not answer jury summonses because they are afraid that they will be penalized at work. The two juries on which I have served were composed not only chiefly of white people, but also of either retired people or people who worked for large companies. In talking to those who worked for large companies, I found that they mirrored the experience of my husband, who had worked for a large company. These companies neither asked jurors to turn over their pay to them nor did they penalize their jury service in any way. The company for which my husband worked often played up the civic activities of its employees in its publications.
It is possible that large companies are more civic-minded and more able to afford the time off taken by their workers. Such companies also enhance their own reputations in the community. Perhaps the lesson is that companies which support the jury system should be given public recognition.
This recognition might encourage other companies to be more active in supporting jury participation. Hopefully, more low-income workers would then be available to make our juries more representative of the community.