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Posted: 5:22 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

Fulton Co. officials: Jury duty no-shows no longer an issue

By Pete Combs


Earlier this year, Fulton County court officials were so worried about no-shows among prospective jurors that they went public. It turns out their efforts were pretty effective.

Chief Judge Cynthia Wright warned she and other judges would take drastic measures from the bench if people didn’t start reporting to the courthouse when summoned for jury duty.  Court administrator Yolanda Lewis said the situation had become grave.

“We had a failure to appear rate as high as 50-percent in the last year,” Lewis said.

So, after asking politely more than once, judges – notoriously impatient with those who don’t heed their warnings – sent out Fulton County deputies to bring the no-shows to court to explain their repeated absences. Some were fined. Most were rescheduled for jury duty and warned that this time, they better show up.

It worked.

“Our failure to appear rate has now dropped to 5.1 percent,” Lewis said with a smile. “You know, we’re very excited.”

In fact, on Monday, she said, too many people showed up for jury duty, sort of an embarrassment of riches. The highly visible delivery of show-cause notices in Fulton County has had even farther-reaching effects. More people are showing up for jury duty in Dekalb County as well, Lewis said.

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