from the office of County Judge Mark Riley
by Joel Kertok
Parker County District and County Court at Law Judges are letting Parker County residents know that if they fail to show up for Jury Duty they will be fined and that the maximum fine has just increased from $100 to $500.
The 6th and 7th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution preserve the right to trial by jury in criminal trials and certain civil trials. The United States of American is one of the last countries in the world to guarantee trial by Jury.“In order for us to have jury trials we must have approximately 20 to 70 people show up for jury service after they have been summoned,” 43rd District Court Judge Don Chrestman said. “The issue before us is that only thirty to forty percent of the jurors summoned in the last few months have appeared for jury service.”
Chrestman said this failure to appear, has caused trials to go untried or be delayed.
“I know of one of our Judges who has already sent out fine notices to 44 people who did not honor the jury summons for a trial that was to begin on September 14, 2009,” Chrestman said. “More important is the fact that a warrant for your arrest will be forthcoming if you don’t pay the fine within thirty days of the date of the Order setting the fine.”
Juries are made up of a group of people from the community where the parties to the trial live and this is called a trial by our peers. The alternative to trial by jury is trial before a judge, a bureaucrat, an arbitrator or some other person agreed upon by the parties in some circumstances.
Constitutional Rights are very important to the courts and if summoned for jury service, please remember the 6th and 7th Amendments preserve the right to trial by jury.
For additional informatin contact: Joel Kertok
Phone: (817) 598-6166