Trib readers sounded off on our Facebook page about 363 potential jurors simply failing to show up for jury duty two weeks ago, prompting 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson to order issuance of show-cause notices so they could explain before the judge why they should not be held in contempt of court. Most claimed on Friday they never received the jury summonses (but did receive the show-cause notices). One suggested that her dead husband might have thrown it out. Another suggested the jury summons might have been snatched: “Some of the neighbors are not too neighborly.”
Leslie Hancock Gill: Judges get to make a statement about citizen duty, but can citizens make public statements about appointed judges in our county who have no background in family law? Our family has been in one judge’s family court for several reasons and I must say it’s a disappointment.
Melissa Waden Wray: Unless there is a mid-term vacancy (in which case a judge is only appointed until the next election, when he or she must run in order to stay on the bench), state court judges are not appointed. They are elected. Your vote, not jury service, is your opportunity to make a statement. Serving on a jury has nothing to do with the judge’s knowledge or application of the law. The jury is the judge of the facts; the judge is the judge of the law. Not showing up for jury duty is inexcusable and does not hurt the judge. It hurts the litigants/defendants who have a right to trial by jury.
Emily Ardolf: They should have a sign-up for jury-duty wannabes. I would be honored to participate and I have never been picked ever. So lame, too, because in Texas I know nothing about anyone and can be very non-objectionable.
Colin Gunn: We need to end the forced draft for jury duty. If people don’t want to participate in the corrupt court system, that’s their decision. It’s hypocritical when everyone in the courts gets paid (judges, clerks, lawyers, etc.) while jurors are simply enslaved. By the way, if you do get drafted, I recommend you show up and nullify their antics. [Jury nullification allows juries to free defendants they believe may be guilty but don’t deserve formal findings of guilt.]
Lexi Garcia: I’m 19 years old and received a notice for jury duty. I’m working part-time and am a full-time college student. Some people just don’t have time! P.S. — I sent the letter back with my explanation as to why I couldn’t show up.
Luke Snyder: Every time I’ve received a jury summons, I’ve shown up. But how can you ensure those summonses are received if they’re not certified mail?
Tim Aparicio: When you are only paid $6 just to show up, it’s not worth it. The state of Texas is too cheap to pay jurors more. Just sayin! [Jury pay is $40 the second day and every day thereafter.]
Juanita Villa Mendez: So going to jail for contempt is better?
Terri Gatlin: I’d rather receive $6 than pay $100-$1,000!
Jennifer Berlanga: I would not want to be on the receiving end of [Judge Johnson’s] glare!