Abandoning Civic Duty, More Jury No-Shows

1-12-05 – Fewer people are showing up for jury duty and officials say it’s a growing problem. In the case of the Andre Thomas murder trial, nearly 1,000 Grayson County residents were sent summons.

However, on Monday, only around 450 potential jurors showed up for duty.

District Attorney Joe Brown says Monday’s turnout of about half is considered good by current standards. The county attributes the recent surge of interest to the notoriety of the triple-murder case.

Still, the Grayson County jury coordinator says, on average, only 40% of those summoned actually show up for jury duty. Many notices go from the mailbox to the trashcan.

A judge has the power to fine no-shows. However, the county has few resources to actually track those people down.

It’s a growing problem across Texoma.

In Carter County, an average of only 35% of those summoned show up for their civic duty. In Bryan County, the turnout is lower. Twenty to 25% of potential jurors show up to the courthouse.

One Bryan County Judge has taken matters into his own hands, occasionally printing the names of no-shows in a local newspaper. The judge hopes the list convince residents to go to jury duty.