A Georgia woman was ordered by a judge to write a 30-page essay on the importance of jury service after she traveled out of the country, and failed to appear for jury duty.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the woman, who is identified as Juror No. 64, said she frequently travels for work and didn’t see the jury summons for the upcoming YSL RICO trial until late December. Summons were reportedly mailed out to Fulton County residents in late November. Juror selection began this week and is “expected to continue until the end of February with opening statements to take place shortly after jurors are selected,” per the AJC.
Juror No. 64 went to the courthouse last week to explain her absence, claiming she tried to inform jury services of her business trip and emailed a copy of her travel itinerary.
The woman appeared before Chief Judge Ural Glanville on Thursday, four days after county deputies visited her grandmother’s home in search of her. “I didn’t really know I was in violation until the sheriff showed up,” she said. “I thought I was following directions.”
She was found in contempt of court for failure to appear for mandatory jury services, a charge that could result in up to 20 days in jail and a fine upwards of $1,000.
In order to “purge herself of this contempt,” Glanville determined that she must write the essay in APA style with 10 primary and 10 secondary sources. The essay is due in three weeks, and she’s required to appear in court on Feb. 13 to speak with Glanville about the assignment.
“Years ago, people who looked like us couldn’t serve on juries,” Glanville told the woman, both of whom are Black. “It was prohibited.”
The AJC notes that a judge ordered another Fulton County juror to write an essay on citizenship and the importance of jury service after he overslept on back-to-back days during a trial in 2013. After the second time, he was told to show up the next day with his essay and a toothbrush in the event that he would spend the night behind bars.
The man followed the judge’s orders and was allowed to sleep in his own bed.