Most Knox County residents are not performing their civic duty when it comes to serving as jurors.

Efforts to select juries for trials this week in Knox County Superior Court ended when only 38 people appeared at the courthouse.

The judicial department has issued summonses to 150 people, directing them to report for jury duty this week. Ninety of those were excused for a variety of reasons, leaving 60 in the jury pool.

But 22 of those 60 failed to appear Tuesday, Feb. 6, leaving only 38.

That led to the court's being unable to select juries for three to four trials that were on the docket.

Criminal trials require 12 jurors but, depending on the length of the trial, one to two alternates are also picked in the event someone becomes ill or is disqualified during the trial.

And during the selection process, people may not be selected because they know the people involved in the crime or know potential witnesses.

Following that low attendance rate, Justice Bruce Mallonee penned a letter to be sent out to those Knox County residents who failed to appear.

"Please recall that you can be excused from jury service only if you file a written request, stating your reason for seeking to be excused, and that written request is granted by the presiding justice. We have no record of your having filed the necessary request or of the court having granted it," Mallonee wrote.

"As a result of your failure to appear, you will receive another summons to appear for jury duty. The summons will be issued in March and will require you to appear for service in April 2018. According to Maine law, failure to appear for or to complete jury service may constitute contempt of court and may be punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both. Any future failure to appear in response to a summons will result in a hearing at which you will be required to show cause why you should not be held in contempt," he concluded.

There have been no contempt hearings held for no-show jurors since 2004.

But that could change with the increasing difficulty of selecting juries when people fail to report to court as ordered.

The names of people called to jury duty are selected randomly through the database of the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicle and with people with state identifications.

Jurors are paid $15 for each day they show up in court. They also receive mileage reimbursement.