Covering Kentucky

Jul 21, 2014 8:32 PM

Judge Calling In Jury Duty No-Shows

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A state judge in southwestern Kentucky is calling in people who failed to show up for jury duty and threatening to issue a warrant for anyone who misses without a valid reason.

Christian County Circuit Judge John Atkins has set the hearing for July 25. Atkins told the Kentucky New Era the court is owed an explanation about why people didn't respond to the legal summons and could be held in contempt if they don't respond.

"The point of it is, that it's not fair to the jurors who properly responded when people dodge jury duty, because that makes the work that much harder. And the workload is heavy enough when everybody cooperates," Atkins said. "When people duck their responsibility then it makes it hard on everybody."

Atkins said in April, May and June, more than 400 summonses were sent and drew no response from potential jurors.

Atkins said the court is cooperating with people who have called in, who may have forgotten their notice on a kitchen table or have had other reasonable excuses like being hospitalized.

Atkins pointed out that he and his colleague, Christian Circuit Judge Andrew Self have had to use both jury pools over a three-month period from their respective courts because neither jury pool was adequately sized to seat a jury.

"We're just trying make everybody understand how important that responsibility is as a citizen to serve your time on jury duty if you're asked to do so," Atkins said.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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