Brandon Lee Cooper failed to appear for jury duty and a hearing to explain why last week, and thus was sentenced to two days in jail.
Judge Samuel Ozburn ordered Cooper’s arrest after he was originally summoned to appear for jury duty the week of Jan. 26, and he failed to appear or contact the court. Cooper was sent a written notice to appear for a hearing date to be held on Feb. 25, to explain why he failed to appear for jury duty. He did not show up for this hearing. He was then served by the Sheriff and ordered to come to court April 8 to show cause.
Again Cooper did not respond.
At the hearing held Thursday Cooper told the court he did not have dependable transportation and did not realize his failure to appear was serious even though he admitted receiving each notice to appear, which he ignored.
Judge Ozburn asked Cooper if, after spending two days in jail, he now had a better understanding of jury duty and the importance of obeying an order of the court. Cooper said that he now understands, and apologized to the court.
“We take too much for granted as a society,’ Ozburn sad. “We have many important rights that are taken for granted and not truly appreciated, but we have very few duties as citizens. One of the highest callings for a citizen is jury duty and if our system of justice is to function as it should, good, honest and fair-minded citizens must serve to reflect the values of our community. People try to avoid jury duty and that troubles me. We do all we can to minimize the inconvenience, and once people serve they realize how important it is. If you were charged with a crime or were facing the loss of your property in a civil case you would want good, fair people to hear your case. People need to think about that when they receive notice to appear for jury duty.”
Cooper was released from custody and ordered to appear for jury duty on May 11, at 8:30 a.m.
“The majority of citizens are very conscientious and fulfill their duty by reporting to court on the date and time required, but so many are ignoring it,” said Linda Hays, Clerk of the Superior Court, is responsible for issuing summons for jury duty and she notes an apparent failure of so many to appear despite receiving notice.
Anyone having questions about jury duty or the courts may refer to the Alcovy Circuit website at alcovycircuit.com or call Linda Hays, Clerk of Superior Courts, at 770-784-2035.