More people have been failing to show for jury duty in Merced County, officials said. So Merced Superior Court judges are increasingly taking action.
Merced County Judges Carol Ash and Jeanne Schechter are issuing more "Orders to Show Cause" for people who fail to show for jury service, according to a news release.
If you fail to appear for service, the release states, you can expect a Merced County Sheriff's deputy to personally serve you the order.
Once served with the order, you will need to appear in front of a judge at the stated time to explain your failure to show or complete service, according to the release. A judge will determine the punishment or another course of action, whether you show up to that hearing or not.
That could include fines ranging from $250 to $1,500, the release states. Incarceration also is an option.
One Merced County resident, Lucia Maria Vaz, went through this process last week, according to the release. She appeared in front of Schechter and told the judge that she reported to the jury assembly room at the right time and checked in. But she left because she thought she was excused.
While Schechter told Vaz that checking in doesn't mean Vaz has completed her service, she dismissed the fine because Vaz reportedly attempted to serve, the release states. Schechter ordered Vaz to immediately report to the jury office for service.
The right to a jury trial is guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and California, according to the release.
"It requires that citizens give of their time to serve as jurors and do their part to protect this cherished American right," the release states.