Too many Grand Jury summons no-shows - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Too many Grand Jury summons no-shows

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The District Attorney says he won't tolerate people ignoring their summons The District Attorney says he won't tolerate people ignoring their summons
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The first Dougherty Grand Jury of the new year is now impaneled using a new Georgia law. A state commission in Atlanta is now selecting a larger pool of potential jurors. But only one quarter of the people who were summoned actually showed up yesterday as ordered.

The District Attorney says he won't tolerate that. 120 people in Dougherty County were mailed a summons to appear for jury service yesterday. Only 31 people showed up at the courthouse.

Court officials say the rest of those folks who didn't show will receive another summons to explain their absence. Of the 120 summons sent out by the new state commission from Atlanta, 80 reached the person, because they were not returned by the post office.

But only 31 of those people came, and court officials started an inquiry to bring the others in.

District Attorney Greg Edwards said: "So those people who failed to appear will probably be called before the court, and it is an action contempt of court if you don't respond to a jury summons."

Under the new state system, a jury commission in Atlanta is using more and different sources than the old voting roll or driver's license roster to pick jury pools, to reflect a more accurate picture of the community. "It may well be the mindset of some persons who don't want to be involved, but it is important for every citizen to do what is appropriate and certainly at a minimum as a citizen you must respond to the summons. Because that is a requirement of the law," Edwards said. A person summoned for jury duty is required at least to respond. There is a phone number and an address on the summons, to allow you to explain a disqualification factor or a hardship. You can also come in person to the courthouse and talk with the jury commission, but the D. A. says just not responding will not be accepted, and now they will have to face a Judge to explain. 23 of the 31 persons who showed were impaneled to make up the Grand Jury, but the start of their case hearings was postponed to next week. Now if you have certain criminal convictions or are not a United States citizen......, are a full time student, or are too young or too old, you may be disqualified or excused from jury service. Contempt of court for ignoring a jury summons could earn you a jail sentence of 20 days and a fine up to $500.