Local News

Woman Skips Jury Duty, Gets Jail Time Instead

Posted June 13, 2007

— Wayne County Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis on Wednesday ordered Benita Cox, 33, of Pikeville to spend 10 days in the county jail after she failed to report for jury duty Monday.

Karrie Minchew, county jury duty clerk, said Cox had been scheduled to serve jury duty June 5. She arrived as expected, but left the jury pool room without permission, Minchew said, and went to work.

After that, Lewis told court officials to reschedule Cox's jury duty for this week, but Michew said she failed to appear and will go to jail instead once deputies arrest her.


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  • NeverSurrender Jun 14, 2007

    "I would love to sit on a Jury. I was picked for Jury Duty Twice in two years, but when you make those phone calls to confirm the night before I didn't even get a chance to go down to the court house to even possibly be picked."

    Jurors are pooled for a particular trial and it's not uncommon for cases to settle/plead at the last minute at which time the pool is customarily released.

    I've been called four times but never served. My father has thoroughly enjoyed telling the clerk of the court in Florida that I had moved from that particular jurisdiction over 19 years ago and was a resident of another STATE and thus ineligible. They finally took the hint a couple of years ago.

    I had a friend serve on the Orange County grand jury...grand jury is where I'd want to serve on if I had my druthers. The opportunity to skewer haphazard and improperly prepared cases and their prosecutors would be delicious fun. Not that we *EVER* have one of those round these parts... :)

  • gopanthers Jun 14, 2007

    I would love to sit on a Jury. I was picked for Jury Duty Twice in two years, but when you make those phone calls to confirm the night before I didn't even get a chance to go down to the court house to even possibly be picked.

  • davidgnews Jun 14, 2007

    I suppose that one of the fastest ways to get released is to ask about your 'right' to jury nullification.

    They don't like that one too much.

  • NeverSurrender Jun 14, 2007

    Travised, that seems a fair cop to me. There are plenty of legitimate reasons not to serve (I don't have a laundry list of them handy).

    The people that annoy me are the ones that will employ any tactic they can to get out of it: acting nuts, claiming hardship where none exists, making prejudicial statements ("he's guilty, your honour!" during voir dire), or my favourite...the ones who want to legislate from the jury box.

    You normally see those in capital cases...the ones that will refuse to consider the death penalty because "they don't agree with it". Not agreeing with the premise of the penalty is fine but that's not the job you're being asked to do. You're expected to hear evidence, follow lawful advice from the judge as to the law, and render a verdict according to law in a lawful manner. If the person is guilty of a capital offence and that's a remedy available at law, then refusing to consider it just because you don't agree with it should be cited as contempt.

  • Travised Jun 14, 2007

    I was called for duty once, and asked to be released for medical reasons. Sent a medical release so it could be proven, never had to show up.

    Before jumping down my throat, you don't want disgusting medical incidents in the jury box. The office had the same view I did, and saw fit to excuse me from the list. I can justify some medical conditions being exemptions. But simply not wanting to serve is an invalid excuse.

  • Halyard Jun 14, 2007

    There are many people these days think they do not have to follow the rules/laws, be it a "no Parking Zone" in front of the grocery store or, in this case, jury duty. She absolutely got what she deserved. We need more of this, people have to be held accountable for their actions.

    Good call Judge Lewis.

  • NeverSurrender Jun 14, 2007

    "I was under the impression that if you go there and act a little crazy they would let you off..."

    This would be the second part of the idea I advanced in my previous post...if I had my way, people obviously trying to Section-8 themselves out of a jury summons would be met with a contempt of court charge and a stiff mandatory jail sentence.

    Being excused for a valid reason from one jury (like conflicts of interest or knowing someone involved in the case) should not be a blanket invitation to completely walk from the judicial process. With the stuffed dockets at the courts today, I'm sure there is at least one jury where the person could serve impartially *IF THEY ARE WILLING TO ALLOW THEMSELVES TO DO SO*.

    Serving on a jury and being a part of the process is the price we ought to be willing to pay to be considered a citizen of this country. Yeah, the pay sucks...but knowing that you were willing to do your part when others shirk their duty ought to be a point of pride.

  • NeverSurrender Jun 14, 2007

    "juries would often times be filled with people that come from a completely different background than the defendant."

    The concept of a "jury of one's peers" doesn't entitle someone to a jury full of potentially sympathetic jurors based on economic status or some other criteria (like ethnicity). All it is supposed to guarantee is a reasonably competent jury who can render an informed verdict based on the evidence presented and the guidelines of the law without any other factors prejudicial to that process.

    Unfortunately, the lawyers have perverted the original purpose of the jury by colluding to stack the jury in their favour with perceived sympathetic jurors and the judges have allowed them to do so with impunity.

    What we need is to eliminate jury stacking...when you need to empanel a jury, the only challenges should be for those jurors who obviously cannot render a fair verdict based on evidence/law...once you've got the 12 and alternates, you take your chances with that jury.

  • claudnc Jun 14, 2007

    I was under the impression that if you go there and act a little crazy they would let you off... just start blurting things out and twitching and they will find you mentally incompetent to be on the jury pool.. Or answer the questions crazy... like if I was a follower of Jim Jones and I am still drinking the Kool-Aid... Yes I believe we should all be riding in horse and buggies because I love to see the horses go by... Did you see the green and purple horsey?

  • Love my boys Jun 14, 2007

    Wayne County has a very low number of people that show up for jury duty as it is. Do some of you remember couple years ago that Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders was ordered by a judge to go to Wal-Mart in Goldsboro and pull people to go to jury duty? A judge put the sentencing into place after the Wal-mart incident happened to prevent people from either showing up and leaving without consent or not showing up for jury duty altogether.