Grand jury pool no-shows face consequence

A grand jury summons that was sent out to a Dougherty County resident. / Jessica Fairley

Judge Willie Lockette is taking action after less than one fourth of community members who were summoned for grand jury duty failed to show up to court.

125 people were summoned to report to the Dougherty County grand jury selection on Wednesday. Although many were summoned, only 31 jurors showed up.

Judge Willie Lockette is now planning to have a hearing to find out why those who didn't come to jury duty weren't there.

Yvonne Mull, Dougherty County's Clerk of Courts, says she has received some replies from those who are excused because of their age, health or full-time student status. She's also received return mailed court summons from people who have moved and not updated their address.

Those who moved without changing their address for the courts will not be excused from appearing before Judge Lockette.

Other people not excused are those who chose to not show up for any reason.

These people will have to stand before the judge and plead their case.

"They are subject to the contempt powers of the court and that could mean both jail time and or fines up to $500 and up to 20 days in jail," said Greg Edwards, Dougherty County District Attorney.

Although the 31 jurors who appeared in court Wednesday were enough to make up the grand jury, Edwards says this situation could have prevented the court from serving the community.

He says reporting to jury duty shouldn't be taken lightly and those who fail to appear will be held accountable for failing their legal obligation.

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