Montana judge calls out jury duty absconders

2014-06-18T13:58:00Z 2014-06-20T10:10:12Z Montana judge calls out jury duty abscondersThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 18, 2014 1:58 pm  • 

THOMPSON FALLS — A judge in northwestern Montana threatened fines and required letters of apology from nine people who failed to show up when they were called for jury duty this month.

"We had all the people assembled for the trial, including one witness who had traveled from the East Coast, and we almost didn't get to trial," said District Judge James Manley.

Of the 48 Sanders County citizens called for jury duty, a dozen were excused and another dozen failed to show up.

"I think most of us who have worked in the legal system for decades believe it's the fairest system there is, but it only works if people take their responsibility seriously," Manley said. "That's why I got on my high horse and said some things."

Manley ordered the no-shows to appear and explain why they should not be held in contempt of court.

Four met with Manley prior to their order to appear and were ordered to write letters of apology. A fifth also satisfied his obligation early. Manley accepted the excuses of three who appeared before him, but found the other four in contempt. He said he would waive a $100 fine if they, too, wrote letters of apology.

"People should see how hard these clerks of court work to set up jury trials," Manley said. "It's a monumental task. But if a lot of people don't show up, it doesn't work."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from the Gazette

House OKs $120 million in tax cuts

16 hours agoLoading…
Committee gets shot at gun bills

Committee gets shot at gun bills

18 hours ago Photos

Photos

Loading…
University executives, students back bonding for projects

University executives, students back bonding for projects

18 hours agoLoading…
Top GOP legislator pitches modest property tax cut

Top GOP legislator pitches modest property tax cut

20 hours agoLoading…
Montana city asks MRL to help ease traffic congestion

Montana city asks MRL to help ease traffic congestion

21 hours agoLoading…

Follow The Billings Gazette

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses