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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Man in US jailed 83 days for missing jury duty

The United States has a system of justice that depends on jury trials for a large number of cases, based on the belief that a citizen should be judged by a jury constituted of 12 of their fellow citizens, and it is these citizens who can be depended upon to deliver a judgment. A condition of that is that every citizen can be called for jury duty, and it is only those who can show some sort of valid reason who are excluded from being on the jury. However, it was shocking when it was found that a person was jailed for 83 days for avoiding jury duty (link to article):

A man arrested for allegedly failing to appear for jury duty was released on Saturday after spending 83 days in jail, a length of detention that a judge called "unacceptable." Douglas Maupin was released a day after The Dallas Morning News brought his plight to the attention of a Collin County judge.
All American citizens and permanent residents are required to report for jury duty from time to time to supply potential jurors for court cases. District Judge Chris Oldner said he was unaware of Maupin's detention until Friday, even though the case was assigned to his court. The judge who signed the original 2003 warrant had retired, and officials said the case was assigned to the court of his replacement but the offense didn't fall under that court's responsibility.

This is part of the blind nature of the legal system. Maupin was caught as part of an earlier warrant issues in 2003 and when caught for speeding, this warrant showed up and he was jailed; further, he could not afford the bail amount.

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