Midland Jurors Who Don't Show Up Could Pay The Price Behind Bars

Midland Jurors Who Don't Show Up Could Pay The Price Behind Bars
By: Alexa Williams
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND-  The judges at the Midland County Courthouse are fed up with people not showing up for jury duty.
"They don't call in, they don't tell us that they are exempt or they're not qualified, they don't show up. They just don't pay any attention whatsoever to the jury summons," Midland Count Judge, Kyle Peeler, said. 

The courthouse is struggling to fill their jury seats. Every week, 750 notices are sent out for locals to come do their civic duty and serve on a jury panel, but the problem is only about 150 people are showing up. Because of that, the no shows will literally be paying the price.

"If they don't have a good excuse for that, then pursuant to the government code, the judges can hold them in contempt of court for failure to appear at a jury summons and can fine them up to $1,000.00 and confinement in the county jail up to 180 days," Peeler said. 

This is all part of a show cause order. Judge Peeler said this has been a problem since 2011. The first show cause order will be on Friday. It's for those who didn't show up on March 31. If violators don't show up again, they'll get served from a deputy and if they still decide not to come they'll get locked up. 

"We'll issue a rid of attachment where we'll ask the sheriffs office to go out and pick them up and put them in jail," Peeler said. 

At the end of the day, the judges want to remind everyone that jury duty is not an option.

"It's not only a legal responsibility, it's a civic responsibility," Midland County Judge, Rodney Satterwhite, said. 

We're told show cause orders will continue at the Midland County Courthouse until more people start showing up.