March 18th, 2010
01:35 PM ET

Hard economic times hit jury box

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/CRIME/03/17/jury.duty.recession/story.jpg caption="YOUR CAPTION BETWEEN QUOTES"]

Stephanie Chen

Juggling single motherhood in a recession is tough on 50-year-old Felicia Cinnamon. So is working in sales when clients are spending less money these days.

When Cinnamon received a jury summons a few weeks ago, her stomach sank. Not because she didn't want to perform her civic duty but because she couldn't afford to miss a day of work.

On Monday morning at Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta, Georgia, Cinnamon slumped in her chair in a crowded room of hundreds of potential jurors. She flipped through a book and munched on a granola bar as she talked about the burden of jury duty in tough economic times.

"I work on commission. Missing a day of work has a ripple effect," she said.

People have tried to dodge jury duty for as long the system has existed, but jury commissioners and legal experts say they are hearing more people cite financial hardships and the troubled economy.

With rising unemployment, pay cuts and foreclosures, missing a day or two of work - let alone spending possibly months on jury duty - has become impractical for families and business owners alike.

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