Many people, particularly this past week, have forgotten that they are a vital cog in the wheels of justice. This past Monday, 145 prospective jurors were supposed to show up for jury duty. Through the day, 60 appeared and 15 of those were released from service, leaving 45. For a capital murder case that was set to begin jury selection, the court needs at least a jury pool of 50. The trial of 25-year-old Keith Anthony Dozier, the final defendant in the 2012 slaying of 58-year-old Gail Spencer, was delayed.
Superior Court Judge Howard Simms decided to make a point. A jury summons is not a request, it’s an order and the judge sent Bibb County deputies to go get them. Now those missing jurors will have to come to court and explain why they didn’t show up. Some have legitimate excuses. Some are in jail, according to Mcon-Bibb County Sheriff David Davis. Others are hospitalized and some of the notices went to addresses that aren’t current. With that said, we believe the majority of the no-shows were due to complacency. And the enforcement arm had not been used enough to make serving on a jury imperative. Not showing up for jury duty can lead to a contempt of court charge and could lead someone sitting at the defendent’s table rather than the jury box.