Anne Arundel County executive shows up for jury duty — and gets to go back to work

Chase Cook

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman is sorry he wasn’t at work Wednesday morning — he had to report for jury duty.

The newly elected official sat inside Anne Arundel County Courthouse Wednesday awaiting his turn as jurors were considered for upcoming cases. He wore his county pin and continued to work from his phone and laptop.

A few people recognized him on the way in, but mostly he kept to himself as others worked or waited their turn.

“I’m just regular people, doing my duty,” Pittman said.

Not even the county executive can avoid the strong arm of jury duty. But it is unlikely Pittman would be selected for the pool, especially for a criminal case. He is the boss of the police chief after all. At about 2 p.m. he confirmed he was sent home and back to work.

He posted a photo of his work note to Facebook, telling residents he hadn’t shown up to work Wednesday because of jury duty

“They asked if I needed a note for my boss to show why I couldn’t make it to work today,” Pittman wrote. “Y’all are my boss, so here’s my note.”

When a Maryland resident is selected for jury duty, they are assigned a number. They are instructed to call a phone number that lists numbers for jurors who need to appear at the courthouse. The county executive was in the 500s and anticipated he would have to appear at the courthouse as the number rose each day.

Jurors are paid a per diem between $15 to $30 depending on the jurisdiction. That number can rise depending on the length of a case. That money is to pay back residents who miss work.

Pittman offered to donate his fee to a staff happy hour.

There are no special exceptions for elected officials, said Scott Poyer, the Clerk of the Circuit Court. His office is charged with maintaining records and issuing marriage licenses among other duties.

Elected officials are not treated any differently after they have been called in for duty, though they are often dismissed before a case goes to trial, Poyer said. Though some of them are called to serve on a case, he said.

“I was happy to see him doing his civic duty,” Poyer said.

The call of jury duty delayed some of Pittman’s meetings — he had to reschedule a few — but he didn’t mind.

He was hopeful he could make it back to the Arundel Center a few blocks from the courthouse before one particular meeting though.

“Hopefully I’m done before the budget briefing with John Hammond,” Pittman said with a laugh as he scrolled through his appointments.

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