I respond to them without fail. I’ve never been selected, but I’ve sat through the screening manny times. And I know manny who systematically let them pass without showing up. I’ve never heard of anybody being prosecuted for ignoring one.
The courts rely upon a certain percentage of the citizenry responding to the call. And here in Texas they eventually began using drivers’ license records instead of the gold standard (voter registration) to boost the jury pool. In a way I see it as a situation comparable to that the IRS faces. They cannot possibly actually enforce compliance with every individual, but the threat of sanction combined with the surviving (as it is) sense of civic duty keeps the system functioning to this point.
And sure, it’s a pain in the a** to comply, and was most notably so to myself when I was operating a small business. Nevertheless, I do respond, because a day or two of my time devoted to keeping it all working is an accepted cost in my picture. An eight month long civil suit might make me one sourpuss juror, though.
But in the near future you can probably remain a scofflaw without repercussion outside of whatever failings that demands in your own sense of how things work.
What can they do about it? Well, as your lawyer friend pointed out, not much currently, unless they adopt the IRS standard that “if we think we told you, we told you.” Fortunately standards that might hold in Tax Court (?) don’t extend to normal civil and criminal legal arenas, I think. So, they probably won’t crank up the enforcement machinery until a biting shortage of jurors appears.
And when that crisis arrives, will the powers that be decide that more intrusive measures must be taken to insure participation by the public, or will they perhaps decide (supported by stats, charts and whatever; and opposed by the few who might bother to care) that it is far more efficient to just leave a demonstrably disinterested public out of the process and discontinue the jury system?