This is in reference to your article, "Residents skipping jury duty," in the Feb. 20 edition.
I do not believe the residents are the problem. It is the organization and information given to the front desk workers at the courthouse. This falls directly on Magistrate Dorothy Little's shoulders.
I am semi-retired, but must still attend certain business meetings once a quarter. Last October, I received a jury duty summons that coincided with the date of our quarterly meeting. All eight business partners were called and our meeting was rescheduled. Upon calling the court, the day before the date of summons, I was told the jury selection was rescheduled.
The next summons came, for the same case, and about 35 to 40 of us were there. Magistrate Little promptly came out and said, "Due to an emergency, the selection is to be re-scheduled." A few days later, I went to the courthouse and asked when the next summons would be, what the emergency was that prompted the selection to be rescheduled and why I was asked to be among the citizens summoned for the third time.
I asked what the penalty would be if I didn't show up.
The front desk person said, "I don't know" to all my questions. When pressed, the front desk workers became agitated and started to ignore me. Finally, one of them said I would be censured if I didn't show up at the summons. It seems that if your name is assigned to a particular case, you will be required to appear for selection, no matter how many times the selection is rescheduled, in this case, at least four times.
I sent Magistrate Little a registered letter that only she could sign for, and it took five days before she was in her office to receive the letter. The office workers did not know her whereabouts. In the letter, I asked Little to put the censure in my medical record so I could ask my doctor for a pill to alleviate the problem.
Bottom line: The courthouse is ill-informed/untrained and that falls squarely on Magistrate Little's organizational skills. I hope the voters remember this during the next election.
Andrew Toth, Payson