Jury Duty

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Several things can cause the justice system to slow down, but county officials are hoping jury selection isn't one of them. Over the past few years several mistrials have been declared because only a small number of potential jurors showed up.

" One of the fundamental rights we have as a citizen of the United States is to have our case heard by a jury of our peers," said Judge J.D. Langley.

Langley is keeping a close eye on the trends in response to jury duty in Brazos County. And while there is only a small percentage of people who don't show up at all, those few can have a negative impact.

If enough people don't show up for jury duty, it costs the county time and money. Thousands of dollars could be lost if a scheduled trial has to be cancelled.

" You have the cards, you have the postage. You have the time it takes to send those cards out and the time it takes to process when they come back, " said jury coordinator, Ginger Lanehart.

She says the county sends out more juror summons on high profile criminal cases and during the summer and holiday season. Over half of the cards are returned because people have moved out of the county and a large number of people are exempt.

But for the most part Lanehart believes the citizens of Brazos County really do care about their civic duties.

" Overall with as many cases as we have we really have a lot of really conscious people who do report to jury duty. Once in awhile not enough people show up," said Lanehart.

" Without jurors who are willing to serve when they're called upon to do so, the system simply cannot work, " said Langely.