Trials & Litigation

Judge holds 4 no-show jurors in contempt, will waive $100 fines if they apologize in writing


A trial in Montana nearly had to be rescheduled this month after only half of the 48 individuals summoned for jury duty showed up.

A dozen had contacted the Sanders County District Court in advance and were excused. But Judge James Manley ordered the other 12 to appear for a contempt hearing, reports the Missoulian.

Five contacted the court ahead of time and wrote letters of apology. Manley accepted the excuses of three at the hearing and held the other four in contempt, fining each $100. The fines will be waived if they write letters of apology, too.

“People should see how hard these clerks of court work to set up jury trials,” the judge said. “It’s a monumental task. But if a whole lot of people don’t show up, it doesn’t work.”

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