Citizens who have repeatedly failed to appear for jury service were summoned into Mohave County Superior Court to explain their absences. Such citizens were directed to attend June 2 Order to Show Cause hearings conducted by Judge Lee Jantzen.
The Judge reportedly found a small number of the prospective jurors had reasonable explanations for their failures to appear. A number of other cases were dismissed due to unserved mail informing citizens of the hearings.
A few of the hearings were continued to a future date but were later dismissed after the court was informed of addresses on file being vacant.
Judge Jantzen found 21 prospective jurors in contempt of court, and fined each of them between $150 and $250 as a civil sanction to be paid by July 2, 2017.
Court officials noted that during the past six months they have had to increase the number of summons for jury selection by 20% because they can’t anticipate how many will report.
Judge Jantzen spoke of a recent mistrial due to only 35 out of 111 jurors appearing. This places an extra cost burden upon taxpayers and sometimes represents inconvenience when an excessive number of prospective jurors are summoned given the uncertainty of attendance.