Mohave County Superior Court coming after those who no-showed for jury duty

KINGMAN – Once again, Mohave County Superior Court finds itself in the unpleasant position of issuing orders to show cause for people who failed to appear for jury service.

Many of them will be coming into the courtroom of Judge Lee Jantzen starting at 8:30 a.m. June 2 to explain why they didn’t show up for jury duty selection.

This is beginning to be a serious and expensive concern for the courts, said Virlynn Tinnell, clerk of the Superior Court.

On April 24, the clerk sent a summons to 111 prospective jurors to appear for jury duty. Of those, 18 were excused, but only 35 showed up, and Jantzen was forced to declare a mistrial.

Just a week earlier, more prospective jurors failed to appear, although the trial was able to go forward.

More recently, two trials were scheduled with a combined 165 people summoned to appear. Thirty-three were excused and only 54 of the remaining 132 showed up.

No judge or clerk wants to be placed in the position of forcing people to come to court to explain why they didn’t appear for jury service, but the failure to appear rate continues to climb, Tinnell said.

The rate was 26 percent in 2015, up from 25 percent in 2014 and from 19 percent in 2013.

Two judges issued orders to show cause for the missing jurors, which brought the numbers down for a while, but now they’re climbing again, Tinnell said.