Thousands of Lubbock citizens are summoned to jury duty every year but lately many people, up to 42 % in recent weeks, have failed to show up. That's why Lubbock county judges are taking action against those who fail to appear.
Judges sent letters to more than 300 no-show potential jurors last week. The letters state they have one week to reschedule their jury duty. Monday, a new group of jurors will be summoned and as one district judge tells us, if the negligence continues, so will the letters.
District Judges Issue a Warning; Report for Jury Duty, Or Go to Jail
Hundreds of potential jurors are summoned each week. Judges now issue a warning to all potential jurors: show up for jury duty or go to jail!
"We're trying to reach everyone and let them know that we are monitoring jury service. As a judge I'm charged with trying to maintain the integrity of the system and that's what I intend to do," explains 99th District Judge Mackey Hancock. He says he's being more than fair by giving no-show jurors one week to reschedule their service.
"Now we're saying okay we know you missed and you need to contact us and reschedule or face other consequences," he explains. The consequences include being held in contempt of court. That could mean jail time and a fine of up to $1,000. "If they totally ignore us again then we'll be sending out warrants," points out Judge Hancock.
He says it's an effort backed by all district judges. "The judges feel it's important and that we need them to come in and honor their summons, 'he says. Though the judge admits he's never had to do this before, he feels it's his duty to protect the judicial system. "Make sure it's fair, make sure we have enough people to serve a jury and give everyone their day in court," adds Judge Hancock.
Lubbock County Judges To File Contempt Of Court Charges Against Absentee Jurors
Show up for jury duty or go to jail. Lubbock County is now following through with the warning it issued last week.
By the way, jurors are selected at random from voter registration and driver's license records. So if someone dies, Judge Hancock says it's the family's duty to notify the state. If they don't, they may end up receiving a jury summon in the mail.
Jury Duty exemption:
Otherwise The U.S. Justice System says it's your duty to help those who need a fair trial. Also as a part of the new rule if you move you must report your new address so the district clerk's office has record of it.