Crawford County residents urged to make quick turnaround with jury questionnaires
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Crawford County residents, who were mailed jury questionnaires earlier this month, are urged to fill them out and get them back to the county courthouse.
These jury questionnaires are for the fiscal year 2019-2020, which covers the period of Oct. 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020.
Names are drawn annually from the Secretary of State’s database from drivers licenses and state identification cards, which have a Crawford County residency status.
From that pool of names, the computer selects the names to receive the questionnaires to be used for qualifying potential jurors for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2019.
“The system is truly a random selection of citizens,” said Crawford County Clerk Sandra Moore. “When you are drawn in the system you remain there until your service is complete; that’s why some individuals seem to get service year after year.”
As the jury board qualifies citizens for potential services, the court’s computer is updated with that qualification. Monthly, the clerk requests a random list of 120 potential jurors, who are placed in four panels. Summons are then mailed to the citizens for service.
“Our system does not share information with other databases and information is not carried forward from year to year,” Moore said.
With a population of 10,000 to 12,000 residents in Crawford County and an annual draw of 3,000 to 4,000, residents’ chances of being drawn to fill out a questionnaire are more often greater.
Jury questionnaires are required to be completed and returned within 10 days of receipt. It is important that if residents receive a questionnaire, they must complete and return it.
If residents have a medical condition that they feel should exempt they from being called to serve, they should attach a medical note to the questionnaires from their doctor.
Residents should complete, sign and date both sides and return it before Thursday, May 30, to prevent having to appear for a show cause hearing to explain why they did not fill out and mail back the questionnaires.
“All who fail to answer and submit their questionnaire will be summoned to appear before a judge to show cause why he or she should not be held in contempt of court,” Moore said.
It is possible to be summoned and serve in one year and still receive a questionnaire for the following year. Residents should simply note the month of service on the questionnaire. However, even though residents are qualified for service the following year, the computer will not select them and summon them for a 30-day period until 12 months elapsed from their previous service period.
“Jury duty is one of the most serious duties that members of a free society are asked to perform. Our system of self-government could not exist without it,” Moore said. “The right to a jury trial is an ancient tradition and part of our heritage. Jurors must be as free as humanly possible from bias, prejudice, or sympathy for either side and keep an open mind until the time comes to decide the case.”
If residents have any questions, they should contact the clerk’s office at (989) 344-3207.