Jury summons sent out in Nacogdoches County as in-person trials resume

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:21 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 7:12 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Thousands of Nacogdoches County residents may soon receive a jury summons in their mailbox. Jury trial preparation has begun.

It will all go down in history in the office that prepares the summons.

A fun part of District Clerk Loretta Cammack’s job is finding old court orders.

“This is from 1867,” she said as she pulled up a document on her computer. The old documents are being scanned and shared with the SFA Research Library.

The demand for jurors back then was comical compared to current circumstances.

“We need to summon 20 good and lawful men,” Cammack read.

Today such an order wouldn’t come near fitting the bill.

“We are actually summoning 800 citizens to try to get around 100 people that could serve,” said Cammack, as she sat behind a tray of hundreds of summonses ready to be mailed.

Clerks are sending out twice the number of summons they mailed pre-pandemic.

“It’s been a year and half since we’ve had jury selection,” reminded Cammack.

An attempt was made in July but canceled due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Judges are willing to try again beginning next month.

Six possible jury selections may happen between now and the end of the year.

At time of selection, panels will be divided into two groups; one group appearing in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. Those selected will return the following day for attorneys to make final jury selections.

“If judges were not comfortable with this current situation, we wouldn’t have jury selection. And if things change, I will be canceling jury selections again, I’m afraid, and I hope doesn’t happen,” smiled Cammack.

And one can only speculate how all these accommodations will go down in history.

Nacogdoches County residents who receive a jury summons are encouraged to mail back the return form within two days, no matter their answer about serving. This enables clerks to inform them should jurors no longer be needed.

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