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Jury Duty No-Shows: Fulton County Devises A Second-Chance Program

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams explains a month-long initiative designed to give amnesty to people who skip out on their civic responsibility.

With roughly 1 million eligible people from which to choose in Fulton County, jury duty shouldn't be a problem.

But in Fulton County it is.

The reason: Too many people just don't show up.

Fulton County isn't alone, of course. A citizen skipping out on jury duty is a problem facing courts nationwide.

But in Fulton County, the rate of no-shows is roughly 50 percent.

The result, more frequent calls to attend jury duty — now every 18 months from every three years — to make up for the no-shows court officials have to factor into the mix. At that rate, court officials say they will have to decrease the grace period between jury duty summonses even more.

It explains Jury Summons Amnesty Month, a special program Fulton County Superior Court judges devised to give no-shows an opportunity to make good on their civic responsibility.

The month-long amnesty, which ends May 31, is part of the new Failure to Appear Initiative, which is designed to make citizens more responsive to juror summonses.

So any Fulton County resident who received a jury summons from the Superior Court of Fulton County but failed to respond can come to the Court and complete an Amnesty Affidavit to serve a future date.

The Amnesty Affidavit allows citizens to reschedule their service during May and is available via the:

Those who fail to reschedule and continue to ignore jury duty summonses risk fines of up to $500 and up to 20 days in jail.

East Atlanta Patch sat down recently with Superior Court Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams to talk about the program, the importance of responding to jury duty when called and the impact of no-shows on the justice system.

Please click on the video above to watch the Patch interview with Judge Esmond Adams.

Space Ship May 14, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Ridiculous. A night in jail with some of Atlanta's finest thugs should convince people not to skip out on their civic duty. What makes people think they're above the law, and why is enforcement of this not being prioritized? Should we just encourage people to commit crime since no one is motivated to serve on jury duty to defend the innocent and put criminals in jail? What the article fails to explain are the motivating factors for skipping out, what makes Atlanta rates higher than other cities in the country, and why it's not being properly enforced. The law is the law. If we're not enforcing the law nor abiding by it, then what has happened to our civilization? More laziness in action, on both parts. I'm sick of reading about it.
Péralte Paul (Editor) May 14, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Hi, Space Ship: We did ask Judge Esmond Adams that very question in the video. Her take on it is that people have skipped out because they can. This whole initiative is designed to give people an opportunity to come forward and fulfill their obligations to serve. Failure to do that will result in a tougher stance moving forward.
Space Ship May 14, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Thanks Peralte. Unfortunately I could not view the video on the train from my mobile device.
Space Ship May 14, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Also, in response to your comment, I would say if we have a 50% skip rate, I would argue that F.C. currently suffers from lacking a stance, not merely the enforcement of one.
Péralte Paul (Editor) May 14, 2012 at 06:48 PM
That is a problem with some mobile devices, unfortunately.
Robert Smith April 08, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Honestly, having to be taxed a postage stamp and the time it takes to drop the completed summons in a mailbox is rediculous. They should allow for this process to be completed online, and schedule a window of dates that fit into the calendar of those summoned. The last stab in the eye is parking -- you have to park at turner field and wait at least 20 minutes on a bus to drive you over to court. And with an 8am Monday time, this means I effectively need to get up at 6am to serve. This isn't the 90's anymore FC, get with the times. I'd be more inclined (if summoned) to grumble less if you didn't make the process so painful.
Space Ship April 08, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Take the train.

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