COVINGTON, Ga. — The district attorney is warning that anyone trying to collect a fine in-person for missing jury duty is a fraud because of requirements for notification spelled out in state law.
Covington Police were on the lookout this week for a man who reportedly scammed a restaurant worker after telling her she owed money for missing jury duty.
An officer reported responding to a call Tuesday, Feb. 9, from a worker at Your Pie on the Covington Square.
The worker said a man identified himself by name and said he was a judge and she had missed a call for jury duty.
He then said she owed $189 and she told police she sent the money using the Cash App mobile digital platform to the account CCCGOV.
The victim said she later found she never got a notice in the mail for jury duty, a report stated.
District Attorney Randy McGinley said state law requires “notice and hearing” before an individual can be punished for failing to appear for jury duty.
The law says, “If any person is drawn as a juror and duly summoned to appear as such at court, or summoned as a tales juror, and neglects or refuses to appear, or if any juror absents himself or herself without leave of the court, said neglect, refusal, or absence may, after notice and hearing, be punished as contempt of court.”
“Therefore, anyone demanding money over the phone or in person, is a scammer,” McGinley said.
He said contempt powers do allow a judge to impose a fine or a sentence to jail. “However, a hearing would be held in court and allow the person who missed jury duty to provide an explanation to the court,” McGinley said. “The notice for such a hearing is done by personal service by the Sheriff’s Office.
“A judge would not contact an individual directly. Any fine that would be imposed after notice and hearing would not be payable to a Cash App account. That is not how the Clerk’s Office receives payments.”
Anyone who believes they may have missed jury duty should contact the Newton County Clerk of Courts office at 770-784-2035, he said.
The Clerk’s Office also has issued a warning about these scams at https://www.alcovycircuit.com/clerk-of-courts/55-clerk-of-courts/newton-clerk-of-courts/138-jury-services.html.