No-show juror jailed in Grayson Co.

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

SHERMAN, TX - A Denison man who skipped out is now behind bars and as Victoria Maranan reports the Grayson County District Attorney has a strong warning for anyone else who might think about doing the same.

Nineteen year old Austin Caplinger was held in contempt of court Wednesday for missing jury duty at a criminal trial a month ago. He's also been sentenced to seven days in jail, a $500 fine and 30 hours of community service in the next six months.

While it may sound harsh, Grayson county district attorney, Joe Brown, said the punishment was fair.

“When a trial gets rescheduled, there's attorney time that's wasted, the judge's time was wasted, all the other juror's time gets wasted and there's a lot of money that goes out. So we feel it's important to have a consequence for this because we don't want it to happen again," Brown said.

On November 15th, Caplinger was chosen as one of the 12 jurors to serve in a D.W.I. trial. The next day, the other eleven jurors showed up, but Caplinger did not.

The court bailiff called both Caplinger's home and cell phone numbers several times, but could not reach him.

Because of his absence, by law, the presiding judge had to declare a mistrial. At the contempt hearing, Caplinger testified that he was sick the day of the trial and that he was unable to call the Court because he did not know know the number. He also denied that the bailiff called both his home and cell phone.

District clerk, Kelly Ashmore said the jury summons contains the court's contact information.

“Too many ways of communication at this day and time to say that 'I had no way to communicate with anybody at the courthouse.' He has our jury summons to tell him he had to be here. On that summons, there are emails, there are three phone numbers," Ashmore said.

Brown said this could have been avoided if Caplinger just called the court. He also says when a juror is a no show, it's not only a hassle, it costs taxpayers thousands of dollars.

“It got pretty expensive and we're very understanding of people's conflicts. But if this person just called and let the court know, we could've got an alternate and we could've done something aside from rescheduling a trial," Brown said.


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  • by Susan H. on Jan 15, 2011 at 08:59 PM
    Well John go out and look at your dogs and cats,with your attitude thats probably all you have!!!Evidently you are not a christian or you wouldnt be on here judging this young man.Yes i agree he made a mistake and thats his mistake to deal with and Im sure he learned from it!!He is a fine young man,he just made a mistake!!And Im sure kids having kids has gone on for years and probably has happened in your perfect family John!!Ill pray for your hatefulness!!
  • by Anonymous Location: SHER-TOWN on Jan 14, 2011 at 06:50 PM
    ME---IM NOT CRAZY!! I JUST KNOW THE BABY MOMMA OF HIM, AND THEY DO DRUGS AND HAVE LOTS OF MENTAL PROBLEMS!!! OBVIOUSLY HE CANT SHOW UP FOR A BASIC DUTY, HAS A CHILD WITH A GIRL, DOESNT TAKE CARE OF HIS RESPONSIBILITIES!!! REAL WINNER!!! YEAH GRAYSON COUNTY!! PUTTING ANOTHER LOOSER BEHIND BARS!!! CONGRATS!!
  • by Me Location: texas on Jan 14, 2011 at 09:12 AM
    Some of you people on here are crazy. I agree with Susan H, you need to get a life. John and Anonymous, you've got real issues, get help! This is a 19 year old that missed jury duty. Yes, he should have showed up, but get over it and stop being so mean! I don't know the guy, but I feel sorry for him, having his picture plastered on the news, paying a fine, community service, and jail time, plus being cut down by all of you. I'd say he's been punished enough. SAD!
  • by Anonymous Location: SHER-TOWN on Jan 13, 2011 at 06:54 PM
    HA!HA! HE SEEMS LIKE A REAL WINNER!! CONGRATS KACI--- YOU PICKED A REAL WINNER JUST LIKE YOUR BIG SIS KRYSTAL!!! YOUR DAD MUST BE REAL PROUD OF YOU TWO!! FIRST KRYSTAL'S BOYFRIEND STABS A MAN, NOW YOUR MAN CAN'T SHOW UP FOR JURY DUTY!!! FUNNY!!! CONGRATS JAMES!! YOU RAISED 2 WONDERFUL GIRLS WHO CHOOSE THE RIGHT MEN IN LIFE!!!
  • by John Location: Durant on Jan 13, 2011 at 04:40 PM
    Susan, when I look in my backyard I see my dogs and nothing else. Not sure what you're doing with your backyard. Why can we not judge this loser kid? Why do you think your Christian values are so much better then mine? You say he was sick and didn't think to call, but that goes against what he told the Judge about trying to call in, not getting their messages, etc. So what is the story? Was he too stupid to use a cellphone, or as his usual M.O., did he just think that the rules don't apply to him? Ask your precious little Austin why he no longer has his good paying job at PRC in Durant. Oh yeah, that's right, he was insubordinate, mis-treated his customer on the phone, and was an overall disrespectful little child. Kids having kids... When will this part of the country learn....
  • by Susan H. Location: Denison on Jan 12, 2011 at 01:06 AM
    Ive been to jury duty when people didnt show up,but it wasnt on TV the next day and no one got charged for it!Ive known Austin for years,hes been friends with my son since first grade.Hes not a criminal,just a young man working to support his new family and happened to be very sick and just didnt think to call.To all of you people running him down,look in your own backyard before judging this young man!!How would like someone running your child down!!!Get a life people!!
  • by HA! Location: texoma on Jan 10, 2011 at 02:41 PM
    Grayson county justice system is backwards anyway. there are no fair trials here anyway this dude shouldnt have been jailed, fined maybe, but all you people on here must not have no life to be commenting on here all day, i read all these comments and laugh at you people thinking your really making a difference with your little comments bout how he should be in jail, no one cares that man had to go to jail and if you aint got people in the system or been there than you cant say he deserved to be there its jury trial get real and focus on REAL criminals. ha!
  • by Justice? on Jan 10, 2011 at 07:15 AM
    The USA has 5% of the worlds popuplation yet we have 25% of the worlds population jauled population. I think this is an example of why! We are all criminals waiting for the DAs like Joe Brown to put us into the big money making machine.
  • by poor man on Jan 9, 2011 at 04:13 PM
    i know its something you gotta do but if i miss 2 or 3 days at work i cant pay my bills or buy my meds on what they pay for court
  • by terry Location: westminster on Jan 9, 2011 at 01:41 PM
    I think he got what he deserved.
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