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2017-06-29

Regarding Jury Summons

Letters to the Editor

Dear editor,

This is in response to the letter to the editor regarding Jury Summons. My name is Tammy Kneuper and I am the District Clerk for Bandera County and designated official in charge of the Bandera County Jury Selection Plan approved and adopted in September 2005 by Commissioner’s Court.
Depending on the court, the number and names of the prospective jurors are drawn at the request of each court. Each clerk of the court has the responsibility of maintaining their list of jurors and the court (Judge) has the responsibility of hearing any exemptions or qualifications that are not pursuant to the Government Code.
Names of individuals on the jury list are received through the County Voter Registrar by being a registered voter in the county or the Texas Department of Public Safety through your driver’s license. You do not need to be a registered voter, but you must be eligible to vote. Each name is randomly selected by electronic means and usually will only be selected once a year for a jury panel. A prospective jury may receive another summons if the original jury they were summoned for was postponed or canceled.
My jury administrator, Chief Deputy Alma Baker, oversees the jury program. She works very closely with our Jury Software vendor in keeping the program current and up to date pursuant to any new legislation passed regarding jury selections. She is responsible for pulling the juries according to the request of the court and printing the summons with the name, jury number, and date of summons. Also printed on the summons will be information for the prospective jury to call regarding the status of the jury.
Our software program is Southwest Data Solutions and is reconstituted once a year after the Secretary of State has received the list of voter’s information from our Voter Registrar. What this means is we delete all the previously selected jurors and start with a new slate for the New Year. So it is possible to be called twice in less than a year, but if the jury you were summoned for proceeded to trial and you served on the jury panel, you would be eligible for being excused; however if you didn’t serve or the jury was cancelled you would not be able to claim that exemption or disqualification.
There are several exemptions and qualification to be excused from jury duty, which a person may or may not claim. One is if you 70 or older you can claim an exemption. Even though a person is retired and would be a great juror because of their knowledge and experience they will choose the exemption because they can or just don’t want to be inconvenienced. Unfortunately being employed is no an exemption or disqualification. This is an excuse that would have to be obtained from the judge and attorneys to be excuses from serving on a jury.
According to Govern-ment Code Sec. 62.0141, FAILURE TO ANSWER JURY SUMMONS. In addition to any criminal penalty prescribed by law, a person summoned for jury service who does not comply with the summons as required by law or who knowingly provides false information in a request for an exemption or to be excused from jury service is subject to a contempt action punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000.
I have included a copy of the Bandera County Jury Selection Plan as adopted in 2005. If anyone has any questions or need further information regarding Jury service please do not hesitate in coming to my office at the Bandera County Justice Center located on Hwy. 173 North, or calling me at 830/796-4606 and I will be glad to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Hope this information is helpful to you.

Sincerely,
Tammy Kneuper
Bandera County District Clerk