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Bills would lower jury age to 18

April 21, 2003
By: Sara Bondioli
State Capital Bureau

Eighteen-year-olds in Missouri can die while serving in Iraq but cannot serve on state juries. Sara Bondioli has the story in Jefferson City:

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Missouri is one of two states that requires jurors to be 21.

Missouri lawmakers who support lowering the state's jury age to 18 say the age group is capable of making jury decisions.

Representative Curt Dougherty says the state is passing up possible jurors:

Actuality: jury4
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OutCue: absolutely ridiculous
Contents: "And here we have people that are 18 to 21 years old that operate some of the most powerful military machinery on the planet and yet we can't put them on a jury seems just absolutely ridiculous."

Sen. John Loudon says, based on his own experiences, 18- to 21-year-olds may not have enough maturity to serve on juries.

From the state Capitol, I'm Sara Bondioli, KMOX News.


A 18-year old in Missouri can die serving his country but cannot serve on a state jury. Sara Bondioli tells us what some lawmakers are doing to change that:

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Most states lowered their jury age to 18 about 30 years ago.

Missouri and Mississippi are the only states that still require jurors to be at least 21 years old.

Lawmakers have proposed five bills to lower the age requirements.

Representative Jim Avery sponsors one of the House bills:

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OutCue: kind of silly
Contents: "Currently in the state of Missouri you can serve on a federal jury, in the state of Missouri, at the age of 18, but you can't serve on a state jury. And I just think that's kind of silly."

But Sen. John Loudon says he worries younger adults might not take their jury role seriously.

He says young adults could be easily influenced by forces outside the courtroom.

From the state Capitol, Sara Bondioli, KMOX News.