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Monday, October 08, 2012
Published August 29, 2012
“Fulton County Georgia is fed up
with people missing jury duty”
Nathan’ette Burdine-Follow on
Fulton County Georgia has reached its
breaking point with individuals who purposefully miss jury duty.
So the county decided to send out a notice ordering the absentee
potential jurors to court. According
to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Johnny Edwards article,
“In a first, Fulton holds jury no-shows accountable,” Fulton Country
has historically ignored individuals who did not appear for jury duty.
This has resulted in the county having a higher no-show rate than
the nation and the surrounding counties.
The nation has a no-show rate of 9%, while Fulton County has at
times had a no-show rate of 50%. Fulton
decided it would try and change this by clamping down on its serial
no-showers. Edwards stated that the county
notified approximately 8700 people, and deputies delivered approximately
200 notices per week to appear in court.
As for those who did appear in court, their explanations ranged
from social to psychological problems.
Edwards quoted one man, who appeared before Judge Kimberly Esmond
Adams, as saying, “I’m on
probation right now.” Another
individual told the judge that he didn’t receive the notice in the mail,
while a woman stated that she was suicidal and she was going to kill
herself and her kids. Edwards
noted that Judge Adams was pretty lenient for the situation.
Although she could have fined the serial no-showers up to $500 and
placed them in jail for up to 20 days, she decided against it and just
fined them $60. And out of
the 51 people appearing before the judge, only 23 people had to pay the
$60 fine. However, there were
some individuals excused. According
to Edwards, two were convicted felons and 12 people who were in contempt
of court escaped with a stern lecture on the importance of jury duty.
There were approximately 12 people who did not appear in court, and
a bench warrant was issued for their arrest.