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99th District Court Judge Bill Sowder Discusses Low Jury Duty Turnout [AUDIO]

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On Wednesday’s edition of Lubbock’s First News, Judge Bill Sowder of the 99th District Court talked with Tom Collins and Laura Mac about the low turnout numbers for jury duty.

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About 900 jury duties summons were sent out in Lubbock county, but only 150 people responded. On yesterday’s show, Tom declared that the reason so few people responded was because people were just apathetic about jury duty. Sowder added that it may not just be apathy, but also people being forgetful or too busy to respond. Sowder reiterated that jury duty was a legal summons, and was not something optional. If you are summoned for jury duty, you must respond.

“It’s not an option, it’s an order and people, I would hope, would do it anyway based on citizenship motivations. But the bottom line is, it is a court summons. Anytime a court tells you to do something and you don’t do it, you’re subject to what they call ‘contempt of court.’”

Sowder also added that the low turnout usually results in important court cases having to be pushed back. And even if a jury is dismissed from duty, Sowder said that just the threat of having a jury trial causes these cases to get resolved much quicker and that they are usually resolved on the steps of the courthouse.

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