NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - You receive a jury summons in the mail. You let out a groan. Then if you think like Elmer Shepherd, you make it to the courthouse.
"I'm a law abiding citizen and I like to do what I'm asked to do," Shepherd said.
About 85 other potential jurors showed up with Shepherd. Luckily, that was enough to pick a jury.
"Currently we summon about 400 jurors for a panel so we can probably seat 85 to 100 qualified jurors and those are not real good percentages," said District Clerk Lorretta Cammack.
Most Texas counties are pretty lenient with people who ignore jury summons. Judges and clerks prefer keeping how much leniancy they allow to themselves.
" Putting it off, ultimately we're going to find you and you'll get to come visit with us for a day," Cammack said.
But in Dallas County, no-show jurors are summoned to appear before a judge. They receive a lecture and a second chance. Make the mistake again, it's a $1,000 fine and possibly jail.
The fine and jail for no show jurors have always been in the law.
" Often time it's just a very honest, innocent mistake that they forgot or got busy and the clerk will send out another notice and we'll just catch them another time," said District Judge Campbell Cox.
Jurors excused from service come out of the courtroom with a sigh of relief. Yet if selected they would have served willingly.
"Everybody has to be a part of the system because it takes all of us to make the system work," Shepherd said.