06/12/07 — Missing juror gets time for skipping jury duty ... twice

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Missing juror gets time for skipping jury duty ... twice

By Lee Williams
Published in News on June 12, 2007 1:45 PM

A Pikeville woman found out the hard way this week that skipping out on jury duty can land you in hot water.

Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis ordered Benita Cox, 33, of Washington Street, to spend 10 days in the county jail after she failed to report for jury duty Monday, Wayne County Jury Duty Clerk Karrie Minchew said.

Ms. Cox originally was scheduled to serve jury duty June 5. She arrived as expected, but left the jury pool room without permission.

"She didn't take it seriously," Ms. Minchew said.

Court officials called her employer to inquire about her whereabouts and discovered she was at work. Ms. Cox allegedly told officials that she left jury duty because she was sick. When pressed why she was at work if she was sick, she responded that she just stopped by, Ms. Minchew said.

Ms. Cox was asked to return to jury duty, but ignored the request and an order for arrest was issued by the judge.

A Wayne County sheriff's deputy located Ms. Cox Wednesday. Later that day, she returned to court.

Judge Lewis instructed court officials to reschedule Ms. Cox's jury duty for the week of June 11 and warned that there would be consequences if she didn't show up.

On Monday, Ms. Cox was a no-show once again and an order of arrest was issued, Ms. Minchew said.

Once detained, Ms. Cox will be ordered to spend 10 days behind bars, according to the judge's orders, Ms. Minchew said.

Ms. Minchew said jury duty is a key component of the justice system.

"It's important to show up for jury duty because it's a lawful obligation for all citizens of Wayne County," Ms. Minchew said. She hopes the incident will encourage others to take jury duty more seriously.