PICKENS COUNTY — Pickens County Clerk of Court, Pat Welborn, is urging not only citizens in Pickens County, but also statewide to answer the call for jury duty. Right now, he says there is a shortage of qualified jurors willing to serve and that could impact cases.
According to court officials in neighboring Georgia, it’s already a problem.
“In one case in there (Georgia), a recent shortage of prospective jurors helped lead to the dismissal of a misdemeanor assault and battery case against one man and also made it exceeding difficult to seat a jury in two high-profile murder cases,” said Pickens County Community Relations Director Sharon Johnson in a release.
Potential jurors are selected through random computer selection.
“Jurors perform a vital role in the American system of justice. The judge determines the law to be applied in the case while the jury decides the facts. Thus, in a very important way, jurors become a part of the court itself,” she said.
Welborn echoed Johnson’s statements urging people who receive a summons to “take it seriously.”
“I’m not sure why some people don’t take jury selection more seriously, but … citizens did in the past,” he said.
At one point, only registered voters were selected in the jury pool, but that’s since changed to include anyone with a driver’s license or legal ID, Welborn added.
The Courts of Pickens County also released a statement:
“Jury duty is an opportunity to serve the community. We in the court system will try to make your experience as pleasant as possible. In exchange, we hope that you will be fair, impartial and dedicated in completing your jury duty.”
Pickens County jurors are paid between $30- $50 a day. Jurors who fail to report as directed can be ordered to appear before the court to show cause for his/her failure to comply with the summons.